How to 'Beat' the "Farmer" Update

by bfas
35 replies
  • SEO
  • |
It's only been about a week, but there's already a lot of good (and plenty of not-so-good) information out about the 'Farmer' update. As someone for whom half of my revenue revolves around search traffic and rankings, this is obviously something of huge interest.

Based on what I've read, plus my own experience - which includes over 20 test sites, and a private forum with hundreds of users reporting on what they're seeing and hearing, I believe this update offers huge opportunity for those of us intending on being long-term players, and willing to put the effort into their businesses accordingly.

I just posted an article on my blog with my own analysis and what I believe is necessary to benefit from the changes (Making Money Online). Boiled down somewhat it entails:

Better Content


Whether it's for your own 'money' sites, for syndication, or for Web 2.0 sites, quality and originality are more crucial than ever. This means, no cheap outsourced content that's essentially worthless fluff, no more poorly-spun content, and certainly no more auto-scraped content. Articles should be at least 500 words, preferably more, and 100% grammatically correct. If you're spinning content, stay above 50% 'uniqueness'.

Include outbound "DoFollow" links to relevant quality and/or Authority sites.

For syndicated content, make sure all links are relevant, meaning no resource box links that have nothing to do with the article.

Better Targets


If you're playing in those high-spam arena's such as the ones that EZA is halting i.e. 'male enhancement', etc., you should seriously re-consider a different focus.

If you're doing the 'single-keyword-focus' thing, i.e. X-factor micro niche sites, Google Sniper sites, either re-consider your business model, or extend them to a larger thematic / niche focus.

Better Backlinking

Link diversity and link relevance are the name-of-the-game. Don't let your backlinking profile depend on huge numbers of similar lo-value links like profile links. Diversify - syndicated content, social bookmark and social media links, etc., and look for in-content 'editorial' links such as guest-blogging.

On the one hand, succeeding in a sustainable, long-term way is probably going to mean a lot more effort than it once did. This is a sign of the IM industry maturing. On the other hand, it will 'thin out the herd' to some extent as it becomes harder to succeed with automated short cut solutions, but if you're in this to build a real business, the playing field will even out somewhat such that those building higher-quality sites won't find themselves so easily out-ranked by keyword-stuffed, over-optimized junk.

I'm sure there will be a whole slew of new ways to try and game things, but I also believe the tide will continue turning making the 'cost of entry' to 'quick & easy' success higher and higher.

Michael
#beat #farmer #update
  • Profile picture of the author lazysloth
    Spot on , like surviving a nuclear war this update , I have been that busy I only noticed when one of the new sites we launched hadnt had any inquiry for 3 days. Checked the rankings dropped from 2nd to 12th. I checked around another 30 sites only one other had dropped.

    The first site had ranked very fast off the back of half a dozen ezine articles and so new content was neglected in favour of serving clients.

    The second site was a clients site that had very little unique content and was also second, linked from the main content farms, Now I have read every scrape of info regarding the farmer update. I starting to see the sites that have more content on that unique are ranking far better.

    Whats really funny is the way hardly anyone is responding to this post and still ordering content, take a look at ezine **** hit the fan post the herd will continue to bash **** on the main farms.

    One thing I did notice instantly was that the site that have gained tend to be big business and the sites that have lost(SLAMMED) , tended to allow the little guy to compete. I love how youtube increased.

    For me the world of seo just got a lot harder ad a hell of a lot more time consuming.

    May the force be with you Michael.
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  • Profile picture of the author caksut
    Originally Posted by bfas View Post

    It's only been about a week, but there's already a lot of good (and plenty of not-so-good) information out about the 'Farmer' update. As someone for whom half of my revenue revolves around search traffic and rankings, this is obviously something of huge interest.

    Based on what I've read, plus my own experience - which includes over 20 test sites, and a private forum with hundreds of users reporting on what they're seeing and hearing, I believe this update offers huge opportunity for those of us intending on being long-term players, and willing to put the effort into their businesses accordingly.

    I just posted an article on my blog with my own analysis and what I believe is necessary to benefit from the changes (Making Money Online). Boiled down somewhat it entails:

    Better Content


    Whether it's for your own 'money' sites, for syndication, or for Web 2.0 sites, quality and originality are more crucial than ever. This means, no cheap outsourced content that's essentially worthless fluff, no more poorly-spun content, and certainly no more auto-scraped content. Articles should be at least 500 words, preferably more, and 100% grammatically correct. If you're spinning content, stay above 50% 'uniqueness'.

    Include outbound "DoFollow" links to relevant quality and/or Authority sites.

    For syndicated content, make sure all links are relevant, meaning no resource box links that have nothing to do with the article.

    Better Targets


    If you're playing in those high-spam arena's such as the ones that EZA is halting i.e. 'male enhancement', etc., you should seriously re-consider a different focus.

    If you're doing the 'single-keyword-focus' thing, i.e. X-factor micro niche sites, Google Sniper sites, either re-consider your business model, or extend them to a larger thematic / niche focus.

    Better Backlinking

    Link diversity and link relevance are the name-of-the-game. Don't let your backlinking profile depend on huge numbers of similar lo-value links like profile links. Diversify - syndicated content, social bookmark and social media links, etc., and look for in-content 'editorial' links such as guest-blogging.

    On the one hand, succeeding in a sustainable, long-term way is probably going to mean a lot more effort than it once did. This is a sign of the IM industry maturing. On the other hand, it will 'thin out the herd' to some extent as it becomes harder to succeed with automated short cut solutions, but if you're in this to build a real business, the playing field will even out somewhat such that those building higher-quality sites won't find themselves so easily out-ranked by keyword-stuffed, over-optimized junk.

    I'm sure there will be a whole slew of new ways to try and game things, but I also believe the tide will continue turning making the 'cost of entry' to 'quick & easy' success higher and higher.

    Michael
    I think valuable content is still loved by any search engine forever, no matter how often google , yahoo or other famous search engine will update it's algorithm!So if you're serious to do online business don't never do spam ever!!
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    • Profile picture of the author bfas
      Originally Posted by caksut View Post

      I think valuable content is still loved by any search engine forever, no matter how often google , yahoo or other famous search engine will update it's algorithm!So if you're serious to do online business don't never do spam ever!!
      Google has never made it a secret that as far as they are concerned, if you stick to 'quality content' and 'well designed sites', you'll do well. Clearly this is an effort to ferret out some of the junk, while trying to promote their ideal.

      Not a bad thing if you ask me.

      Michael
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      • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
        Originally Posted by bfas View Post

        Google has never made it a secret that as far as they are concerned, if you stick to 'quality content' and 'well designed sites', you'll do well. Clearly this is an effort to ferret out some of the junk, while trying to promote their ideal.

        Not a bad thing if you ask me.

        Michael
        Crazy thing...I own one site that has a lot of PLR and it is still doing great. But one of my sites with totally unique content and a few quality backlinks took a hit - back to more backlinking.
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        • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
          Originally Posted by LilBlackDress View Post

          Crazy thing...I own one site that has a lot of PLR and it is still doing great. But one of my sites with totally unique content and a few quality backlinks took a hit - back to more backlinking.
          One of my sites which uses a lot of (quality) PLR is smoking along like nothing happened. It does have a lot of unique content too and the site is presented in a way which makes it easy to navigate.

          I honestly think the backlink profile for the whole site is being taken into account. There has to be a similarity (besides being article directories) between all the sites that got hit - and that will be what to avoid.

          All I can think of is a mass of inner pages lacking backlinks...ie poor content.
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        • Profile picture of the author derh
          Originally Posted by LilBlackDress View Post

          Crazy thing...I own one site that has a lot of PLR and it is still doing great. But one of my sites with totally unique content and a few quality backlinks took a hit - back to more backlinking.
          Exact same thing happened to me..
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        • Profile picture of the author la dominatrix
          Originally Posted by LilBlackDress View Post

          Crazy thing...I own one site that has a lot of PLR and it is still doing great. But one of my sites with totally unique content and a few quality backlinks took a hit - back to more backlinking.
          I have a site that has a lot of syndicated content, is still number 1 on Google and yes one of my sites with totally unique content which was on page 1 of Google took a complete dive.
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          • Profile picture of the author mrgee
            How does google know if your content is "better" or good..? I understand it may be able to check for originality or uniqueness but how the heck does it know if a bunch of words are good..?
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            • Profile picture of the author bummed.out
              All I can say is that adding more useful, original (ie, not just put through a spinner) content, my sites - and earnings have improved. Yes, it's more work (or outsourcing depending on how you do things), but it's paying off.
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  • Profile picture of the author jazbo
    Mix it up, keep it natural looking. Thats ALWAYS been the advice. My take is that the lazy and the stupid are those who mostly got hit by the farmer.
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    • Profile picture of the author davidmeeonline
      Originally Posted by jazbo View Post

      Mix it up, keep it natural looking. Thats ALWAYS been the advice. My take is that the lazy and the stupid are those who mostly got hit by the farmer.
      I'm not lazy, I admit I may be stupid, but I paid good money for content on my site, got lots of varied backlinks, mixed it all up, and still everything dropped off page one overnight.

      I have some content I know is second rate, but the 1000 word, expensive articles also fell off.

      Could Google have changed more than just content checking in the update?


      Cheers

      Dave
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    • Profile picture of the author lazysloth
      Had 2 out of 25 +sites hit one is 6 months old and had reached 2nd off article back links alone , so I got a little lazy

      **** happens

      As the 2 sites affected make up about only 2% of my income , I not really worried , at the same time we just had another site go second after 6 weeks with only one full page of content 1,4 million results.

      Nice to see Google just bought a UK price comparison site , i hear there is a update planned against price comparison sites next
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  • Profile picture of the author mmsearch
    Thanks for the tips- working on some sites now- quality all the way
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    • Profile picture of the author MarcusEJC
      Thanks for a great post, bfas!

      Here's the bottom line the way I see it:
      1. In order to remain the most popular search engine, Google needs to consistently provide quality content in its search results, otherwise web surfers will go elsewhere.
      2. In order to do well in Google, we need to provide high quality content.
      Let's not make it anymore complicated than it needs to be.
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  • Profile picture of the author jennasherly
    Good idea! Everyone have to follow this to get benefit.
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  • Profile picture of the author PetterHedman
    Hello!

    I have a site that totally vanished from Google.se here in Sweden.
    Its a site about women. Its MFA, made for AdSense.
    Its nolonger indexed. It was a former number one site...
    My other sites have gained about 5-7 places in avarage.

    Strange update, this one. Its not totally rolled out in Sweden. But its on the Go nowdays...

    How do we fight this one?

    Best of luck guys!

    Petter Hedman
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  • Profile picture of the author thebitbotdotcom
    Had one site that I built by hand added and wrote and published quality content on it and on a very technical subject. Google never showed it love. After the update it was nowhere to be found.

    Dumped the site...added spun crap articles to it...now on the first page for several competitive terms.

    Way to go Google...what an upgrade.

    There was however, one major SEO difference that I can now see between the former and the latter site and I am taking that secret to the grave.
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    • Profile picture of the author theultimate1
      Originally Posted by thebitbotdotcom View Post

      There was however, one major SEO difference that I can now see between the former and the latter site and I am taking that secret to the grave.
      Let's make the grave ever so smart. Spread it buddy. At least, share it with me. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author sane1
    Personally I think it's about corporate interests moving online and taking over the playing field-the squeeze is on welcome to tomorrow.
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  • Profile picture of the author webprofits
    Originally Posted by davidmeeonline
    I'm not lazy, I admit I may be stupid, but I paid good money for content on my site, got lots of varied backlinks, mixed it all up, and still everything dropped off page one overnight.

    I have some content I know is second rate, but the 1000 word, expensive articles also fell off.

    Could Google have changed more than just content checking in the update?
    As I understand it, your whole site can get slapped if they find low quality content on it, not just the offending pages get de-indexed necessarily, it could be everything including your good stuff.

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author MaryDD
    Thanks for the good stuff and sharing your experience, I learned many things from you.
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    • Profile picture of the author cellington
      MarcusEJC said it perfectly:
      Here's the bottom line the way I see it:
      1. In order to remain the most popular search engine, Google needs to consistently provide quality content in its search results, otherwise web surfers will go elsewhere.
      2. In order to do well in Google, we need to provide high quality content.
      Don't spread "thin content" - bigger players than you have been smashed to smithereens. Why fight the inevitable?
      Don't use PLR that is already on 10,000 other sites - what chance do you have? It's already out there.

      Article marketing absolutely works, but not for lazy people who aren't interested in providing value. In another thread, someone suggested "provide original content and it will be found". Our members providing original content based on their experience and test results are seeing MORE SERPs-magic because the content farms aren't sucking up all of the Google love.
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  • Profile picture of the author traficmaster
    no one can the big Gs algorythm,i nkow a guy works for em,he had to sign some 100+ pages privacy contract
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  • Profile picture of the author madison_avenue
    eHow has well written original grammatically correct articles.

    It's articles are at least 500 words

    It does not go after spammy niches.

    It has tons of links coming in.

    But it still got hit, it is now 86% down! So having the above may not be enough, there other things in play too. But I'm not sure what they are!
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  • Profile picture of the author cellington
    eHow was one of the sites that was alleged to have been "specifically targeted" in the update as a "content farm".
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  • Profile picture of the author guitarjosh
    You couldn't be more wrong about the auto scraped sites. My daily adsense earnings went from an average of $30 a day to $60 a day almost overnight and have stayed there.
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    • Profile picture of the author bfas
      Originally Posted by guitarjosh View Post

      You couldn't be more wrong about the auto scraped sites. My daily adsense earnings went from an average of $30 a day to $60 a day almost overnight and have stayed there.
      It's good to hear you're making money, but if you consider what's been said, what changes are known, and likely future directions, you might be well-served to flip those sites, or use the earnings to re-invest in some other avenues.

      There are always anomalies and I would imagine there will always be some doing well with every business model, but common sense says auto-blogging is not going to be a strong, long-term strategy. If I had auto-scraped sites that were getting their traffic from rankings, I'd be waking up each day with at least some expectation of the traffic disappearing.

      Michael
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      • Profile picture of the author guitarjosh
        Originally Posted by bfas View Post

        It's good to hear you're making money, but if you consider what's been said, what changes are known, and likely future directions, you might be well-served to flip those sites, or use the earnings to re-invest in some other avenues.

        There are always anomalies and I would imagine there will always be some doing well with every business model, but common sense says auto-blogging is not going to be a strong, long-term strategy. If I had auto-scraped sites that were getting their traffic from rankings, I'd be waking up each day with at least some expectation of the traffic disappearing.

        Michael
        I have been waking up with that expectation, and surprised that it's been going the other way.

        I think auto blogging will eventually all go away, but I think it will be years down the road. As you said, there are always anomalies and with a half billion websites online, there's just never going to be an algorithm that will catch them all... and the fact that Google probably works hard to get rid of the "big dogs" and will never much care about the small fry.
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  • Profile picture of the author Naanajud567
    Well, I think eventually this can be good for all of us. We have top adopt or else be left behind.
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  • Profile picture of the author thebitbotdotcom
    This thread is pretty much what we all have should been doing all along. The Panda/Farmer update was designed to remove the riff-raff, which it IS doing.

    For the rest of us, we will keep moving forward as planned.
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  • Profile picture of the author XRogerX
    I mean really interesting, I am trying to post a reply in the REVIEW thread of the $100K blue print , but not been able to, why is that?
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  • Profile picture of the author bfas
    XRogerX, try again, I just did a post there.

    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author XRogerX
    Very weird, I can post on any other thread but now I noticed when I try to post there it says I must have a post number of 20 before sending replies to that thread.
    Very strange..

    All other threads accept my posts..
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