Google launched the clean-up after users urged stronger action against so-called content farms. Now maybe this the first time you heard of “Content Farms“. What really is a Content Farms? A content farms is a company that employs large numbers of often freelance low-paid writers to generate large amounts of textual content or videos which is specifically designed to satisfy algorithms to appear higher on search engine results. Their main goal is to generate advertising revenue. The so-called content farm model is a risky business in its current incarnation, but it is evolving. Google’s new move using a new algorithm is targeted at Websites that essentially copy content from other Websites and those that provide little value for searchers like a content farms. The new algorithm identifies such sites as content farms and then lowers their search rankings accordingly. According to their blog post last Thursday, the change impacts around 12 percent of the company’s search results.
That’s a lot of content farms and “other low quality websites”. Google also recently released an extension for its Chrome browser that enables individual users to block sites that produce search results they consider spam. That blocking info goes back to Google, where it could be incorporated as input into results ranking. In other words, if enough people block Associated Content or eHow, Google may lower the PageRanks of those domains.
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,according to Google principal engineer Matt Cutts wrote in the blog post. While Google did not cite companies it regards as content farms, the tag is often pinned to Demand Media, Yahoo Inc’s Associated Content, and AOL’s Seed, which publish stories. Search engines see content farms as a problem, as they tend to bring the user to the less relevant and lower quality results of the search. Because of the attempt to deliver as much as possible and as cheaply as possible.
Google is wading into tricky territory by acting as the arbiter of what’s legitimate content and what isn’t. It essentially requires training its algorithm to distinguish good writing from bad, original content from repurposed and valid analysis from bunk. Google expect sites with shallow or poorly written content, content that’s copied from other websites, or information that people frankly don’t find that useful, will be demoted as a result of this change. But will there be sweeping changes in the way we view and navigate the Web? It’s hard to tell just yet.