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Google Goes After MFAs
Brett_Tabke




msg:4272071
 5:45 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

New York Times:

[bits.blogs.nytimes.com...]


Google’s announcement did not mention content farms. But Mr. Cutts has spoken in recent weeks about the problem and said Google was working on algorithm changes to fix it. “In general, there are some content farms that I think it would be fair to call spam, in the sense that the quality is so low-quality that people complain,” he said in a recent interview.


Google Corporate Blog Release:
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. [googleblog.blogspot.com...]


Demand Media Response:
[demandmedia.com...]
How our content reaches the consumer – whether it’s through direct visits, social media referrals, apps or search – has always been important to and monitored closely by us. We also recognize that major search engines like Google have and will continue to make frequent changes. We have built our business by focusing on creating the useful and original content that meets the specific needs of today’s consumer. So naturally we applaud changes search engines make to improve the consumer experience – it’s both the right thing to do and our focus as well.

Today, Google announced an algorithm change to nearly 12% of their U.S. query results. As might be expected, a content library as diverse as ours saw some content go up and some go down in Google search results.This is consistent with what Google discussed on their blog post. It’s impossible to speculate how these or any changes made by Google impact any online business in the long term – but at this point in time, we haven’t seen a material net impact on our Content & Media business.

 

londrum




msg:4272440
 5:53 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

im going to be the boring guy who states the obvious:

google place pages are nothing but automated content farms with adense on them.
take the google logo off, and everyone would cite it as the perfect example of what should be punished in the serps.

supercyberbob




msg:4272444
 5:57 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Somebody messed up big time.

The Farm Update has eHow unaffected and in some cases being floated up for some queries.

And the best part, members here reporting legitimate sites getting trashed.

Anybody got contacts at the New York Times? :)

Reno




msg:4272449
 6:18 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Perhaps I'm overly suspicious, but I can't help but wonder if part of what we're seeing is corporate warfare:
Just before so-called "content farm" Demand Media went public in January at a $1.5-billion valuation, Google said that it was planning to make some changes to its search algorithms to clamp down on the profusion of low-quality results from content farms. Last night, the search giant finally rolled out those changes, and they appear to be a dagger aimed directly at the heart of companies such as Demand, whose stock tumbled on the news.
(Emphasis mine)

And like all warfare, there is "collateral damage"...

Full Article [gigaom.com]

.............................................

Content_ed




msg:4272462
 6:36 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Murk,

I've seen the same thing on a 15 year old site, serious resource pages that have been copied all over the web, and with NO AD NETWORKS. Got killed anyway.

The kick in the nuts is the most popular phrase for the site, which used to rank #1 in Google, has fallen to #11 and been replaced at #1 by an eHow page.

econman




msg:4272467
 6:39 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't see how all this commentary about how Google must have given a free pass to "big boys" can be reconciled with this comment on the official Google blog:

"If you take the top several dozen or so most-blocked domains from the Chrome extension, then this algorithmic change addresses 84% of them, which is strong independent confirmation of the user benefits."

If you take it at face value, that statement indicates that the new algorithm change is pushing all but 16% of the biggest "low quality" sites down the SERPs for the limited set of queries that are affected by this change.

Which leads me to a second point: the change is tightly focused on a limited group of queries.

...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

Hence, the impact so far is going to be relatively small (good or bad) for most sites -- assuming the site has a reasonably diverse range of content, matching a wide range of different search queries.

However, this might be the beginning of a significant long term shift in the incentives we all face. To my knowledge this is the first time Google has explicitly said it is starting to be concerned with content or website "quality" (in the past it has always talked about "relevance" even in a context where most people would be thinking about quality).

Up to this point, Google's algorithms have created strong incentives for everyone to focus on quantity (of links and of content). The incentive has been to provide content that is the "most relevant" to the query (e.g. has a page title that exactly matches the specific query). There has been little or no incentive to provide quality (e.g. provide in-depth information, original research, solid, up-to-date facts, written in proper English).

This could be the start of something very good.

Bewenched




msg:4272469
 6:51 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Maybe they're playing around with the algo to let the turds float up so they can be wiped off. I've seen this happen before and I wont be surprised if results havent gotten better come monday afternoon.

shallow




msg:4272475
 7:03 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

my site lost 50% of traffic.


Yesterday, my site lost about 60% of traffic with a corresponding drop in income. Looks like it's going to be the same today.

Based on Adsense reps contacting me for various reasons only a few years ago, and nothing has changed since that time, I can not understand why they would all of a sudden consider my site a bad guy.

I work long hours to produce quality content, and have done so for many years; don't really understand why Google would all of a sudden cut my income by 60%.

Hopefully, I'm one of the false positives and things will bounce back.

apauto




msg:4272479
 7:11 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have a site where I hand wrote all of the content, completely unique.

My site has taken a 25% traffic hit since yesterday, not to mention orders have went down by half.

Time to start looking for a job. Thanks Google.

jersey_guy




msg:4272483
 7:22 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

why does everyone hate eHow so much? I don't have much experience with creating content sites, so have never experienced my content being ripped off. although some of my product descriptions and page copy have been ripped off by competitors, even banners have been stolen - amateurs!

Anyway, this seems like legitimate useful information if I was looking to buy a used car from a stranger:
[ehow.com...]

Forgot to mention, I googled "how to buy a car" and the link above popped up in the 9th serp position.

DanAbbamont




msg:4272519
 8:15 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

eHow did lose a fair amount of rankings, but not nearly as much as the article directories did. On average, every page on an article directory that was ranking in the top 100 for any term got knocked back about 3 pages.

ponyboy96




msg:4272526
 8:26 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, I submitted a reconsideration request for my client's site. I honestly believe that it was hit as a false positive. I'll let everyone know how that goes.

Simsi




msg:4272531
 8:29 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bewenched: Maybe they're playing around with the algo to let the turds float up so they can be wiped off. I've seen this happen before and I wont be surprised if results havent gotten better come monday afternoon.


Makes sense. If Google is going to maintain it's dominant position it has to serve results the average joe is happy with. If there is genuine crap at the top, it won't stay there forever.

falsepositive




msg:4272532
 8:35 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

PonyBoy96, please do let us know. I wonder if it's best to sit and wait or do a reconsideration request. I would not be surprised if Google is currently being hit by quite a lot of such requests.

hannamyluv




msg:4272534
 8:40 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is just based on looking at 3 sites that saw a traffic shift for the Farmer update, but if your site was affected, did your Bing/Yahoo traffic shift on the 21/22?

3 sites (I sometimes consult for) with a shift from G on the 24th saw a shift in traffic on Bing/Yahoo either late on the 21st or early on the 22nd.

Like I said, not really alot of data, but I am just wondering if anyone else saw that or if it is an anomaly.

ken_b




msg:4272536
 8:44 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

My Bing and Yahoo traffic is up slightly, not even close to proportional to the drop in G, but up a little.

Rugles




msg:4272538
 8:47 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

why does everyone hate eHow so much?


I have not found anything useful on an eHow site for a decade. Normally I never click on a link to eHow but when I do I remind myself how pointless it is. They have way more questions than they have answers.

apauto




msg:4272547
 9:08 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, I submitted a reconsideration request for my client's site. I honestly believe that it was hit as a false positive. I'll let everyone know how that goes.


Why a reconsideration request? Where you removed from the index completely? Does Webmaster Tools state anything?

If this works for you, i'll try also... I noticed I'm not ranked as high anymore for many things.

blend27




msg:4272559
 9:23 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

They have way more questions than they have answers.


That page even starts with the question: Have you ever wished you could buy a car and did not have to put up with car salesmen and their "haggling?"

Excellent Material and instead of dealing with a CAR Sales man it tells you that you have to deal with: Credit Union Clerk, then Loan Officer, A website that has a LIST in its domain name, Joe The Car Owner, fork out 100 beans to a complete stranger, then speak with a service manager, then technician, … inspection place and a local DMV.

That is just swell!

ponyboy96




msg:4272569
 9:51 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)


Why a reconsideration request? Where you removed from the index completely? Does Webmaster Tools state anything?


Because, there is nothing else I can do at this point. The site wasn't removed, just dropped for no apparent reason that I can find. With the algo update and the drop being consistent with others, it's a penalty of some kind. There was no email stating we found xyz wrong with your site or anything. Just a large drop in traffic.

With my job on the line, and I mean that literally, I have to do everything I can possibly do to make the situation better. It's my responsibility as the SEO.

DanAbbamont




msg:4272570
 9:53 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

What kind of backlinks did you mostly rely on?

OldIrish




msg:4272571
 9:54 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Based on what I'm seeing in my datacenter of results, this update is turning out to be a complete corporate takeover for many search niches. Non-corporate recipe and food related websites under the 1,000,000 page marker are getting hit with a major torpedo due to the new Google "recipes" sidebar widget, a widget which exclusively filters traffic to corporate content farms such as Aboutdotcom, LiveStrongdotcom, eHowdotcom, and all the other usual suspects. Many of the recipe results appearing in the Google recipes section where scraped from much smaller non-corporate websites. My website does not appear in this section for even it's own domain name, and yet scraped content from my site is appearing slapped up next to AdSense ads [thank you for that LiveStrongdotcom].

So Google, your multi-million page corporate content farm buddies couldn't "out domain me" [I own the premium .com for my main keywords], they couldn't "out quality me" [I am the global authority for my subject matter], but nevertheless you found a great traffic bi-pass mechanism. Just route the traffic that would otherwise end up on my site and instead send it to your AdSense driven Demand Media type websites. Well done... and by the way, I thought this update was directed at content farms, strange but not unexpected that I'm seeing the exact opposite.

I'll take my 40% traffic loss with a cold beer. Time to start formulating a more aggressive Google-less website model. It's also time to start aggressively promoting other search engines.

[edited by: OldIrish at 10:01 pm (utc) on Feb 25, 2011]

DanAbbamont




msg:4272572
 10:00 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Livestrong is the only Demand media site that didn't take a pretty heavy hit. Actually, a lot of extremely high earning AdSense publishers lost most of their Google traffic. The recipe deal is a niche with its own specifics.

ponyboy96




msg:4272573
 10:00 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

What kind of backlinks did you mostly rely on?


Let's just say, it's a link profile any SEO would be proud to show Mr. Cutts.

Reno




msg:4272575
 10:06 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Time to start formulating a more aggressive Google-less website model.

A noble thought and probably the only recourse at this moment, but easier written than done. The WWW is our marketplace and Google is the superhighway leading to the front door. Yes, there are other smaller roads, but for many if not most, if all those smaller roads were added together they can just barely match what Google can deliver on a good day. I'm with everyone here that is saying to step back, stay calm, and see how the dust settles. But if there's not a return to some level of "normalcy" reasonably soon, then this has been a bloodbath.

......................

Freedom




msg:4272579
 10:09 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Definite corporate takeover in my domain. Keyword domains are also doing well, but not all of them.

DanAbbamont




msg:4272585
 10:15 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Based on what I'm seeing in my datacenter of results, this update is turning out to be a complete corporate takeover for many search niches. Non-corporate recipe and food related websites under the 1,000,000 page marker are getting hit with a major torpedo due to the new Google "recipes" sidebar widget, a widget which exclusively filters traffic to corporate content farms such as Aboutdotcom, LiveStrongdotcom, eHowdotcom, and all the other usual suspects. Many of the recipe results appearing in the Google recipes section where scraped from much smaller non-corporate websites. My website does not appear in this section for even it's own domain name, and yet scraped content from my site is appearing slapped up next to AdSense ads [thank you for that LiveStrongdotcom].

So Google, your multi-million page corporate content farm buddies couldn't "out domain me" [I own the premium .com for my main keywords], they couldn't "out quality me" [I am the global authority for my subject matter], but nevertheless you found a great traffic bi-pass mechanism. Just route the traffic that would otherwise end up on my site and instead send it to your AdSense driven Demand Media type websites. Well done... and by the way, I thought this update was directed at content farms, strange but not unexpected that I'm seeing the exact opposite.

I'll take my 40% traffic loss with a cold beer. Time to start formulating a more aggressive Google-less website model. It's also time to start aggressively promoting other search engines.


Replied in your other post, but see this: [google.com...] and you'll get in the recipes results and probably outrank all of those crappy sites.

OldIrish




msg:4272591
 10:20 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

But if there's not a return to some level of "normalcy" reasonably soon, then this has been a bloodbath.


Based on my own traffic losses, and the losses of other publishers that I'm in contact with, this is a bloodbath like no other. 100% original quality non-AdSense driven sites are getting absolutely slaughtered. I have always wondered if the future of the internet would be like the corporate dominated world of television, and today it seems like a huge step was taken in that direction.

caribguy




msg:4272593
 10:22 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

/Somewhat OT in reply to OldIrish: Looks like livewrong removed its "Web Results" section. Now their pages are mostly empty ad templates with an address, google map a weather feed and a 'review' form. Lance should be proud!

TheMadScientist




msg:4272606
 10:37 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have not found anything useful on an eHow site for a decade.

@Rugles I really struggle with believing that ... Seriously, you found something useful on eHow?

Even if it was a decade ago, please, tell me what it was, because I really think the Content Farm linked by tedster is more useful than anything I've seen there ... It at least made me laugh ... Every time I click on eHow on accident I do actually try to find what I need there, because I just want the flippin answer. I don't care what site I get it from ... I still haven't found it there.

Idk which is worse: Accidentally clicking on eHow or experts-exchange? They both make me think, 'wtf? Do the people at the search engines not see this? Don't they ever click on their own results and think, "wow, these sites are annoying?" If I wanted information these are NOT the sites I want to visit.'

chrisv1963




msg:4272618
 11:10 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's also time to start aggressively promoting other search engines.


The "Bing is Better" Google algo update?

BillyS




msg:4272628
 11:21 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google Goes After AdSense Farms


Why is this called Adsense Farms and not Content Farms? Poor logic if that's the connection that Brett is making.
P-78

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