Google made a major change in their search algorithm at the end of February to punish “content farms” that serve-up warmed-over low-quality content. There have been some interesting discussions of the impact of this online, including one by Matt Bentley, formerly of Sedo. Matt argues that the Google change is a good thing for domainers. One impact of the change is that some mega-sites (like Associated Content and eZine Articles) are pushed way down in Google. Domain owners who have original content on their site now have an opportunity to move higher.
SEO expert Danny Sulllivan has analyzed the results and noted a few surprises. Demand Media’s eHow site, for example, actually increased in rank. Sullivan quotes from a Sistrix report analyzing which content farms lost the most. The biggest losers are:
|Domain||Positions Lost||% Loss|
Internet marketer John Reese painted a somewhat different picture. Reese sent out an email stating that:
Thousands upon thousands of marketer are seeing their free Google traffic PLUMMET overnight. This change has wiped out a lot of the free traffic that was coming from Article Directories and sites like Hub Pages and many others. Other “Auto-generated” sites also were wiped out. I bet some marketer just lost nearly ALL of their income with this change if they were heavily relying on their organic Google traffic.
He goes on to remind people that Google does things like this from time-to-time and that we just need to suck it up and build they kind of sites that will still rank well in Google. Expect that domainer content farms like WhyPark have been pushed even further down in rank, except for any high-quality unique content that you have added.
It’s a challenge for any algorithm to judge the quality of original content. Google has penalized duplicate content for some time, but their task here is much more challenging. Expect SEO experts to be analyzing this algorithm shift for weeks to come. In the mean time see how your own domains are doing, and err on the side of good original content whenever you can. Some of the mediocre big guys are no longer blocking your way.