Google: We’ve Made No “Significant” Changes To The Farmer Update

Earlier, we wrote about a Wired article that looked at how the Cult Of Mac web site had regained traffic lost after Google’s recent Farmer Update algorithm change. A fix just for Cult Of Mac? A fix to the algorithm? Neither, Google has told Search Engine Land.

No Manual Changes

Google has told us that it made no manual change to help improve how the Cult Of Mac site is doing, nor is it making any types of manual changes along these lines. There’s no “whitelist” that people are being put on, nor is there some type of “blacklist” that the Farmer Update went after.

Instead, Google rolled out a wholescale change to its algorithm last week, targeted not to any particular sites but which instead was meant to dispossess content considered to be of “low quality” or “shallow” from having top rankings.

Only Minor Updates

So how is the Cult Of Mac back? Google wouldn’t talk specifics about that web site — it tends not to talk specifics about issues with any sites at all. But the company made clear that there has been no “significant update” to the new algorithm. There have been the usual smaller tweaks that are constantly being made to its search algorithms, Google said. It could be that the Cult Of Mac might be benefiting from that.

Seeking Help

What to do if you feel if you were hit by the Farmer Update unfairly? You could tweet at Google’s spam chief Matt Cutts, as the Cult Of Mac did. But Google was very clear that this isn’t what helped the Cult Of Mac — nor is it something that will help particular sites on an individual basis, because they aren’t making changes like that.

However, Amit Singhal — the Google Fellow who oversees the Google’s ranking algorithm — told me that people can file reports through the Google Webmaster Central service. Once you’ve logged in, there are various contact options available. Singhal is getting back to me on exactly which contact option would be best, but it seems the reconsideration request form is the one to go with.

Again, keep in mind that this isn’t likely to result in any immediate change. But the reports overall might help Google improve problems with the most recent update. Google also gave us this general statement:

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. Publishers who believe they’ve been impacted can also post in our webmaster forums to let us know. We will consider feedback from publishers and the community as we continue to refine our algorithms.

Postscript: Google now has an official thread in its webmaster forums for those who think they’ve been affected adversely by the update. You’ll find it here.

More Information

For more about the update, see our posts below:

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Features: General | Google: SEO | Panda Update News | Panda Update Tips | Top News


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Alireza Sefati

    God knows I want to be one of those people to bash Google because our sites drop some traffic as well but I think Google got it right with the farmers update.

    I think they have got a better grasp of bad content algorithmically, and I believe the focus has been around website authority and duplicated content.

    The 30% differences makes a unique content SEO tip is dead.

  • franz enzenhofer

    >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.

    interresting, nothing new but interresting … which googler said that? amit? matt? the PR department?

  • TeacherPaul

    Danny thanks for the postscript link. One posted in that thread talked about the multiple result listing from one site and how the second and third aren’t valid. Plus the forum results from 1997. Has anyone else noticed this in their niche?

    I sure have. I was looking for way to fix this blue-ray disc scratch on the cheap and I kept getting forum posts about VCR tapes. Also I notice that the number one ranking in my niche is the only one to get multiple listings.

  • Allen Graves

    So is it enough to simply remove the low quality portion of your website? Or do you have to submit a reconsideration?

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