Categories - SEO
On February 24, Google announced a significant change to its organic search algorithm that, according to Google, targeted the search rankings of Google-identified “content farms” in an effort to improve the quality of Google’s search results. In a <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/finding-more-high-quality-sites-in.html" target="_blank">blog post published on February, 25, Google’s Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts state that “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.” Dubbed the “farmer update” by Danny Sullivan, it went into effect on February 25 and was said to impact approximately 12% of search queries in Google’s results. Currently, this update is limited to the U.S., but is expected to roll out globally during 2011. Initial Impact Based on an initial audit of daily rankings data for approximately 2.3 million keywords, we have found:
- Most decreases in top-10 rankings correlate with increases in rankings greater than 10. This indicates that rather than not ranking at all, keywords impacted by this update are being ranked lower in the SERPs.
- Retail/Shopping aggregators with thin-content and content portals are among the most negatively affected by this update. Those retail/shopping sites with user-sourced content (i.e. Yelp's reviews) appear to have been less negatively impacted than ones with no user-sourced content.
- Although short-tail keywords are statistically most commonly affected, long-tail keywords are close behind... the average variance between the percent change in short-tail versus long-tail keywords is less than 10%.
- Major e-retailers and most recognized major online brands have gone generally unaffected
- Popular scraping targets (those originators of original content) are seeing their top-ten Google-rankings increase by an average of about 12%, presumably as the scraper sites that used to outrank them for their own content are being pushed down by this update.