Ok, so for the sake of all who have been hit by the so-called "Farmer" update, I thought it might be useful to document my own attempt to increase my website's "Quality" measurement (whatever that means,) in an attempt to gain back some of my previous good ranking in the SERPS.
My site is rather small compared to many mentioned on these boards –– just 700 or so pages –– and at it's peak it has never made me more than $1,000 in any month period, but in this economy that lost $1,000 is kicking my butt.
The site I am referencing is built on Wordpress as a CMS, has been copied copiously by scrapers in the past, and is a review/news-type sight, where I post long, honest and well-written reviews, news, how-to's, etc about my favorite types of widgets.
I have never paid for a link, and I do not run any sort of linking campaigns, though the site is plenty popular, gets a fair amount of natural links, and has nearly 7,000 RSS subscribers.
Obviously, we know very little about the particulars of this latest Google update, but the concensus seems to be that this a radical change in the algo, and we can't expect our ranking to just suddenly reverse any time soon.
With that said, I thought I'd document my meager attempt to gain back some of my good graces with Google.
After reading as much as I can find on the subject, I came across this article posted in one of the other threads here, and it seemed like a good place to start.
The quote that jumped out at me was this:
Sites that believe they have been adversely impacted by the change should be sure to extensively evaluate their site quality. In particular, it’s important to note that low quality pages on one part of a site can impact the overall ranking of that site.
With that in mind I decided it was time to clean-up my site... but where to start? Like most of the good folks here, I tend to think everything I write is pretty good, and I certainly don't copy and paste other people's work etc. To the extent that it's possible, my pages are unique and well-written.
I finally decided to go through my Google Webmaster Tools account, and take a look at exactly which pages lost ranking, paying particular interest to the pages that lost BIG. I'm talking drops of 50, 100, even 200 or 300 places. Luckily there were only a handful of these
As I began to dig through them, it became apparent to me that at least 80% of these pages were very obviously "thin." Much thinner than I even remember writing.
So, for lack of a better idea, I canned them; my hope being that by removing entirely the pages that have suffered the most in this update, my entire website will look better to Google.
All told I threw away approx 40 pages. Now this is Wordpress, so "throwing away" just means moving them to the trash, where they are no longer viewable online, but can be easily retrieved should I decide I want them indexed again.
I can not think of any other ways to "clean up" my site... I long ago blocked things like Tag Pages, Category Pages, etc from being indexed, so there is really nothing extraneous from my site in Google's Index.
Now I just cross my fingers and pray. Nothing I've done is irreversible, so what did I have to lose.. my already tanked rankings?
I'll let you know how it turns out.