Google’s Content Farm Algorithm Not Live Yet

Google Scraper AlgoLast Friday, I reported that Google has launched a new content based algorithm to improve their search quality. I made an assumption that this was related to the content farms algorithm being live, but I was wrong to make that assumption. After we spoke with Matt Cutts today, we learned that the new algorithm that went live last week is related to blocking low quality content scraper sites and not content farms.

When will Google’s “content farm” algorithm be released? We do not know. But unlike Blekko, who banned content farms today, Google will be taking a more algorithmic approach to reducing the number of content farms in their search results. Exactly what that means is not so clear. Will Google drop ehow.com and the same sites that Blekko manually removed with a new automated algorithm? I am not sure. It all depends on how Google classifies a content farm and if those sites fall within those classifications. Time will tell.

I apologize for the inaccuracies in my original post. It is important to set the record straight that Google did not take any action, algorithmically, against content farms to-date.

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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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  • http://www.zippycart.com Zippy Cart

    Is banning content farms outright the best way to deal with them? A good tactic might be to find ways to sift through the material within the farms to find out where people are going and if they are staying there because they’ve found what they are looking for, or leaving right away because it’s poor content.

  • http://www.aaronshear.com/blog aaronshear

    The broad identification of content farms, listed in another post opens a few questions. If good content is no longer good enough, than the sites like wikipedia who try to offer a good experience are now so much like a college term paper. So the user has no clue what they are reading when they simply wanted an answer that they could read in 2 minutes rather than having to dissect an article that is nearly intelligible.

    So like the TSA, fair is fair, ban every content site and keep true to your beliefs! Since I wear an insulin pump and go through security I am high risk and should be stopped every time. <- Peanut Gallery, I know what you are going to say but you know I am right.

    This also needs to include every magazine out there, because well they are just content farms. As well as every news paper, since they are only writing for one reason, revenue. Don't kid yourself if you think that CNN is out to just supply news. The fleet of Ferrari's in their parking lot is paid for by their ads!

  • B. Dougherty

    Hmm, the idea of a moral equivalence of content farms and news organizations seems interesting, but a little suspect.

    One important distinction might be whether many users go directly to the site to find content. At least in my parochial experience, I find news by first going to a trusted source. I stumble upon pages in content farms. I usually run away screaming, but that’s not easy for a search engine to learn.

  • http://www.gfWEBsoft.com Glenn Ferrell

    Don’t feel bad Barry. I read the same Matt Cutts post and came to same conclusion as you.

    One of the areas of concern I have is related to vendors and distributors in industry, where it is fairly common practice to copy blocks of text for product descriptions from a vendor’s site to the site of someone who is a small stocking distributor — with the vendor’s full approval.

    Because I don’t really understand the level of “precision” of Google’s algorithm (both the one that is active today and whatever they may have in the queue) I’m wondering if some rewriting of that content is now a good idea.

    Any thoughts ?

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