Google tweaks search algorithm, content farms take a beating

Mon, Feb 28, 2011


Last week Google updated their search algorithm in an effort to push original content to the forefront at the expense of scraper sites and content farms which dynamically scan popular search terms and construct arguably vapid articles to take advantage of the search traffic.

Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

In the wake of the update, a number of web properties have seen their listing on Google search results pages go from the first page to as far back as 10. In an attempt to quantify the changes, Sistrix released a chart comparing the index difference in traffic “on keywords, ranking and click-through rate on specific positions.” Below is a chart of the web properties that experienced the biggest losses. Some names that stand out include associated content whose index ranking fell 93% and Mahalo whose fell 84%.

And speaking of Mahalo, the number of keywords that match for the site plummeted from 33,875 down to 9,740.

It’s eye-catching that did not only lose more than 70% of their keywords – the remaining keywords are also ranking much worse than before. More than two third of all keywords for this domain could be found on result page 8, 9 and 10. That’s the reason the SISTRIX value fell even more than the raw count of found keywords.



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