Demand: Google Changes Have Produced “No Material Impact” Yet

Last night, Google released the Farmer Update, which was Google’s response to improving the quality of the search results, particularly removing sites “which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful.”

Many suspect that this was aimed at “content farms” and some labeled properties from Demand Media, such as ehow.com and others, as a content farm. In a blog post by Demand Media’s EVP of Media and Operations, Larry Fitzgibbon, he said they “haven’t seen a material net impact” on their content network.

Here we have Demand Media stating out right, this Google update, at this point, has not had an impact on their network. Does that mean their properties were not impacted by the Google update? It sure implies it. Larry from Demand Media added, it is “impossible to speculate how these or any changes made by Google impact any online business in the long term.”

That being said, many SEOs and webmasters are claiming many of Demand Media’s properties were not impacted. We have posts from Allen Stern, David Naylor and in the forums at WebmasterWorld, DigitalPoint and Google’s forum saying sites like ehow.com, run by Demand Media, were not hit all that bad but sites like Mahalo were hit pretty hard.

Possibly a good way to test the differences between the Google index with the Farmer Update versus a Google index without the Farmer Update would be to test Google.com results versus Google Canada results. Keep in mind, Google does shift the results around based on local factors, so that may play a role with differences.

I suspect that over the course of the next week or so, we will find more evidence of how much sites owned by Demand Media were impacted versus other sites that may have also be hit by this algorithm update.

Personally, I find value in many articles on Demand Media and other large content sites. There are many articles I do not find valuable, but there are many articles I do find value in. The big question to me is the algorithm targeting specific sites or specific pages? From the words used on the Google Blog, it appears this is a site (domain level) specific target and not page level specific target.

What is your take? Was Demand Media hit hard by this update?

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Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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