Google & Bing Have “Won A Major Victory” Over Content Farms, Study Says

panda-face-top-newsSearch engines have “won a major victory” in their battle against so-called content farms. So says the current issue of New Scientist magazine, in an article that’s also available online.

New Scientist asked University of Glasgow computer scientist Richard McCreadie to study 50 search queries that are “known to be a target of content farmers.” One example query given is “how to train for a marathon.” McCreadie studied those queries in both March and August, and the magazine says “the results show that Google and Microsoft have won a major victory” against content farms.

The results are striking. In the case of the marathon query, sites that contained lists of generic tips, such as “invest in a good pair of running shoes”, were present in the top 10 in March but had disappeared by August, while high-quality sources, such as Runner’s World magazine, now appear near the top. Similar trends were found throughout the 50 queries.

The article doesn’t offer much more in the way of details, unfortunately.

Although the study looked at both major search engines, it’s Google that’s been waging the content farm battle much more actively than Bing. That dates back to the initial launch of the Panda update on February 24th of this year. Read the stories below for more background.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Content Farms | Google: SEO | Microsoft: Bing | Microsoft: Bing SEO | Panda Update News | Panda Update Winners & Losers | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • russofford

    I would be interested in seeing the list of 50 search terms used in the study.

    Does anyone have a link to the source list from where the “how to run a marathon” came?

  • D.M.

    Funny that for the marathon term they mentioned, #1 in Bing is a robust article on Mahalo, a content farm.

  • Andy

    There is something inherently flawed in this “study”. Content farms mostly targeted long-tail keywords and yes, Google has won the war here. But what’s the fallout of this fight? The search engine seems to be wary of quality but small-time websites even for more mainstream queries; so much so that I only see the likes of Amazon and eBay for every other product search.

    - Andy

  • W.H.

    Yahoo just became like obsolete

  • Nick Stamoulis

    It’s a measure that the search engines needed to take. Users were getting sick of the useless search results. The competition from Bing has been great to keep Google honest.

  • Alex P

    Its will be a constant battle between the content farms and the search engines.

  • Joe Youngblood

    for google on that ‘marathon’ term this site is #1:

    as a running i disagree that it’s a quality listing deserving of #1

  • Durant Imboden

    They may have won a major victory over content farms, but have search results improved overall? In Google’s case, I’d have say “No,” at least for now. I’m seeing loads of scraper sites and other spam in my personal searches. (Just the other day, I was searching Google for information on drug dosages, and most of the results that came up were for shady pharmaceutical sites.)

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