Does Google Consider Article Sites Content Farms?

33 replies
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Here is something for you to think about and discuss...

Since Google is now cracking down on low-quality content farms that hire low paying armies of workers to churn out content I had a few questions and concerns.

1) What does Google consider good quality content? This can be open for interpretation because if you're website is brand new then you won't have a lot of relationships with other authority or high ranking sites of value.

2) Do you think this will effect Article Directories or just articles within the directory? With Google's new crack down I wonder if it will just effect individual articles and authors who are on an article directory site or will it effect the entire directory as a whole?

I know that Google is just trying to deliver the best user experience possible but what really has me thinking is what does Google consider as good quality content?
#article #content #farms #google #sites
  • Profile picture of the author wolfmmiii
    The crackdown is already negatively affecting entire directories and Web 2.0 sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author Christian Little
    Originally Posted by Mike Hill View Post

    1) What does Google consider good quality content? This can be open for interpretation because if you're website is brand new then you won't have a lot of relationships with other authority or high ranking sites of value.
    Best guess at this point is that you have unique content. Until recently they've been ok if the same article appears on multiple websites because they have different templates and every site usually has extra things integrated into it's page to make it different. I'm suspecting that Google is now going to ignore page code when deciding whether to penalize a site for duplicate/quality content issues.

    Originally Posted by Mike Hill View Post

    2) Do you think this will effect Article Directories or just articles within the directory? With Google's new crack down I wonder if it will just effect individual articles and authors who are on an article directory site or will it effect the entire directory as a whole?
    Everybody that does anything with low quality content will be affected. Google has the power to affect almost every website in some way or another.
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  • Profile picture of the author pdrs
    Is that what all the ezine jumps were about?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rikki_Fawkes
    According to an AP article on Yahoo Finance today, Google is cracking down again - and yes, on places like eHow.com from Demand Media. As long as writers keep submitting garbage to article directories, I imagine it might take effect.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Google is no longer even using the term "content farms", to avoid some legal entanglements regarding implied specific targets.
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      • Profile picture of the author Aki Fagno
        Originally Posted by myob View Post

        Google is no longer even using the term "content farms", to avoid some legal entanglements regarding implied specific targets.
        Really? hmmmppp...
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        • Profile picture of the author garben2011
          I've thought for a long time this had to be coming but to be honest through numerous article spinners and products pushing article marketing telling people how easy it is how anyone can write a good enough article and just get it out there and it doesn't need to be great. And others saying hey your job is just to be an article rewriter. Find articles and mix them up, change them around.... well, I had almost given up hope on it actually happening.

          This just seemed inevitable to me. And I am very glad to see that it has finally happened. Despite seeing some droppings in some of my articles too. Who cares really? In my opinion this was long overdue and is an excellent improvement. If I had a search engine I would throw out tons of pages and probably entire sites that are poorly written or simply rehashed / spun crap.

          As far as the original question is concerned I don't think Google really views all article sites as content farms absolutely... but I think Google (and more importantly all of their searchers including me) definitely sees how many, if not most, of the article directories have published what amounts to no more than spam. Just junk content to make an affiliate sale, push a clickbank product and so on.

          The article directories that take a serious look at their sites and stop publishing this junk content will most likely see their rankings come bank even stronger than before.

          This actually makes me think this might be an awesome time to start an article directory that cares about quality.
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  • Profile picture of the author Carlsbadd
    This won't last long, I remember when squidoo got slapped down and it came back stronger than ever. Google is just a bot on juice, they may talk a lot about user experience and quality but untill they replace the bot with humans keywords still drive the bot.
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  • Profile picture of the author leogood
    Google have more humans checking the contents than you would imagine.
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    • Profile picture of the author Peter76
      Who knows what approach Google will take against article directories but one thing we know for sure is that we will eventually find out.
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      • Profile picture of the author pavionjsl
        Originally Posted by Peter76 View Post

        Who knows what approach Google will take against article directories but one thing we know for sure is that we will eventually find out.

        Winners and losers in the new algorithm change

        Article Directories Have Been Devalued Significantly

        ezinearticles.com lost an average of 34 positions
        hubpages.com lost an average of 31 positions
        squidoo.com lost an average of 15 positions
        articlesbase.com lost an average of 29 positions
        buzzle.com lost an average of 30 positions
        associatedcontent.com lost an average of 22 positions
        suite101.com lost an average of 33 positions

        This trend continues across all article directory type sites without exception. For any given keyword that a page on an article directory was ranking for, it moved down the list roughly 30 positions. This is bad news for the article directories and the people who rely on them.

        Established ECommerce Sites Did Well

        etsy.com gained an average of 29 positions
        amazon.com gained an average of 20 positions
        ebay.com gained an average of 20 positions
        sears.com gained an average of 29 positions
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin_Hutto
    I hope it does. I would rather my own site be able to rank for those spots. Think about how many visits you create for EZA with YOUR content.
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    • Profile picture of the author inter123
      In some ways, you have to agree with Google and their actions. It seems only right that a 300 word article on Ezine Articles with very little in the way of real content and filled with sales chat gets penalised.
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  • Profile picture of the author ELK
    If this isn't a prompt to reconsider your plans to use spinning and other various forms of crap content to build the foundation of your business, I don't know what is.

    Makes me more confident than ever to have decided to write long quality articles. I was very close to starting a spinning/multi-blogging/back linking approach.

    SO glad I switched strategies. Will be interesting to see how this shakes out as I build my site up.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Deegan
    The backbone of Googles business model depends on providing a quality user experience so that users keep coming back and using Google as their primary search engine. In order to do that they have to continually strive at providing the highest quality and most relevant search results for every user search query.

    The reality of content farms, auto blogs and most affiliates sites is that they are filled with content that is utter garbage. What is happening now with ezine articles, eHow and other spammy sites is going to continue to happen as long as Google is in business.

    Those sites will have to raise their quality standard or they will lose authority and rankings in Google. It's simply a matter of time.

    All you need to do is put your self in Googles position...

    What would you do if you where Google and sites like Ezine articles where dominating crucial search positions that could be held by sites that have higher quality and more relevant content...

    We as marketers have a choice...

    We can fight Google and exploit holes and loopholes in their algorithm and try to "game" them over time. Which honestly works and is a valid way of getting traffic. But if we choose this philosophy we have to understand that we will forever be trying to manipulate Google and find ways to out smart their algorithm. (which will always be doable to some degree as long as a bot is involved)

    Or...

    We can work with Google and build quality websites and use the Internet in the manner that Google envisions...

    For us, that means legitimately participating in the conversation within our market and creating websites that have quality content that users value and perhaps also providing a continual stream of fresh content.

    What Google really wants is for top ranking websites to be ran by people who are passionate about their subject matter and who actually give a damn. It's really common sense when you break it down...

    The choice is ours...

    The other option we have is to focus on other traffic sources. (paid,etc)
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    • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
      use the Internet in the manner that Google envisions
      Does anyone else get shivers up their spine at that comment?
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      • Profile picture of the author Daniel Deegan
        Originally Posted by Tina Golden View Post

        Does anyone else get shivers up their spine at that comment?
        I hear ya, but the reality is Google owns and runs Google.com with its own vision and standards. It's their choice as it is for any business to run their business with their own set of principles, values and vision. Google cannot stop us from having a website but they can stop us from being part of their search index as it is their product.
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      • Profile picture of the author TedMarlett
        Originally Posted by Tina Golden View Post

        Does anyone else get shivers up their spine at that comment?
        Does anyone really know what google envisions other than google? I'm thinking the only way to survive, if that is a good term, is to do content the way they actually want it done and not submit garbage--even on your own websites.
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  • Profile picture of the author steveniam
    With Google make algorithmic 'improvement' every now and then, it's time to ditch SEO and switch to other traffic sources such as media buys. It become quite tedious to make adjustment whenever Google want to encourage healthy web ecosystem so as to improve the users' experiences.
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  • Profile picture of the author cupul89
    yeah google enough smart to check article!
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Mike Hill View Post

    Here is something for you to think about and discuss...

    Since Google is now cracking down on low-quality content farms that hire low paying armies of workers to churn out content I had a few questions and concerns.

    1) What does Google consider good quality content? This can be open for interpretation because if you're website is brand new then you won't have a lot of relationships with other authority or high ranking sites of value.

    2) Do you think this will effect Article Directories or just articles within the directory? With Google's new crack down I wonder if it will just effect individual articles and authors who are on an article directory site or will it effect the entire directory as a whole?

    I know that Google is just trying to deliver the best user experience possible but what really has me thinking is what does Google consider as good quality content?

    It's not that Google doesn't want to tell you what good content is, the problem is they wouldn't know good content If it was in front of them.

    Have you ever seen a Google product that didn't scrape some type of content (I doubt it very much).

    Google wouldn't exist without scraping content, that doesn't belong to them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Deegan
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      It's not that Google doesn't want to tell you what good content is, the problem is they wouldn't know good content If it was in front of them.

      Have you ever seen a Google product that didn't scrape some type of content (I doubt it very much).

      Google wouldn't exist without scraping content, that doesn't belong to them.
      To keep the discussion going I'd like to discuss this perspective...

      Many SEO types like to argue that Google's product is based on "other" peoples work and that all they do is scrape "our" content. Its as if Google owes us in someway since we allow them to use "our" content to populate their index...

      I'd like to propose another point of view...

      What if we look at Google like a massive public "bookstore" or "library index". They allow any business or publisher to place their book or index their book inside this massive highly trafficked library for free!

      They ask for no revenue or direct profits that come from us being part of their store/global distribution channel. They will gladly list any "publisher" as long as they truly provide value to their customers.

      Instead of making money from us they make money by having a side business within their store/distribution channel (like a star-bucks in your local Barnes and Nobles)...

      From this angle they are doing us a favor by giving us the ability to potentially be found by millions of customers or readers...

      What's funny is that at the Internet's current stage people view a listing in Google almost as some kind of entitlement. If you took this scenario off-line you would see how ass backwards this philosophy is...

      If Google was a physical "place" that got tons of foot traffic and allowed your business to set up shop for free...would you take more consideration to what type of store you'd set up inside the "Google"? Would you be willing to do as Google asked considering all they want you to do is treat your customers well and not peddle them crap?...
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      • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
        I don't think anyone can make an accurate prediction at this point. I remember when the Mayday update upset the apple cart. People were freaking out all over the forum. Couple weeks later, most sites returned to normal.

        I believe it will be the same this time. Originally Matt Cutts was saying that this group of changes was to target the autoblogs and scraper sites that were not adding any value of their own to the content.

        Good sites always take a hit right along the bad ones at first, but things usually shake out pretty well in the end.

        Otherwise, you're going to see an awful lot of Google news sites taking a major blow and I don't think that is the intention here.
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
        Banned
        That's one way to look at it.

        Another view is...

        If I scraped your entire site like Google Cache does, would that be ok with you?

        I wouldn't charge you any fee.



        Originally Posted by Daniel Deegan View Post

        To keep the discussion going I'd like to discuss this perspective...

        Many SEO types like to argue that Google's product is based on "other" peoples work and that all they do is scrape "our" content. Its as if Google owes us in someway since we allow them to use "our" content to populate their index...

        I'd like to propose another point of view...

        What if we look at Google like a massive public "bookstore" or "library index". They allow any business or publisher to place their book or index their book inside this massive highly trafficked library for free!

        They ask for no revenue or direct profits that come from us being part of their store/global distribution channel. They will gladly list any "publisher" as long as they truly provide value to their customers.

        Instead of making money from us they make money by having a side business within their store/distribution channel (like a star-bucks in your local Barnes and Nobles)...

        From this angle they are doing us a favor by giving us the ability to potentially be found by millions of customers or readers...

        What's funny is that at the Internet's current stage people view a listing in Google almost as some kind of entitlement. If you took this scenario off-line you would see how ass backwards this philosophy is...

        If Google was a physical "place" that got tons of foot traffic and allowed your business to set up shop for free...would you take more consideration to what type of store you'd set up inside the "Google"? Would you be willing to do as Google asked considering all they want you to do is treat your customers well and not peddle them crap?...
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        • Profile picture of the author Daniel Deegan
          Originally Posted by yukon View Post

          That's one way to look at it.

          Another view is...

          If I scraped your entire site like Google Cache does, would that be ok with you?

          I wouldn't charge you any fee.
          Sure, are you going to scrap and display my sites the same way Google does and send me quality targeted traffic in the same manner as Google?
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          • Profile picture of the author dftrus
            This recent article may shed more light on the subject:
            http://www.sistrix.com/blog/985-google-farmer-update-quest-for-quality.html

            Despite the personal upheavals, Google is doing what any good business should do. It is continuing to do what it thinks is best in order to give its customers the best product and service it can.

            If we marketers all did the same, none of us would need to worry about being slapped around by Google's next algorithm change.
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  • Profile picture of the author naitrimktg
    Yep I think this levels out the playing field somewhat. People who are plugging away writing good, user-friendly content are going to (hopefully) perform better than the sites who spin articles likes there's no tomorrow.
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    • Profile picture of the author F1SEO
      Yeah I concur I think they're trying to clear out some of the garbage. Real content is useful so I can't imagine that going. It'll be the scraped content like autoblogs that will take the hit.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gerald Arno
    Banned
    Backlinks from unique pieces of content that you submit to ezine, hubpages,
    or squidoo are multiple times more powerful than submitting the same article
    to 50+ sites. A backlink is a backlink, but it´s not always about the quantity,
    rather about quality my friend.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
      Instead of asking, just do a search yourself and see how many formulaic blah blah content sites still show up - just not the "same ones".

      weight loss, break up, make money ... the results always "change" - but the strategies haven't.

      How many people are now sick of sites like answers.(crap answers)com and "know-it-all"-pedia showing up for every search?

      Still only a handful of results on the first page anyway - it's time for these SE's to comeup with a more rhobust and active search page with more sites reachable with context links, drop downs, ect ...

      No SE will survive by showing the same hundred sites for every search.
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  • Profile picture of the author Drewry_Media
    very good question. those who scrape content and reproduce content in so many words that sounds similar to the originally written article will see a drop in ad revenue, as well as search engine rankings
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