More Farmer Update Winners, Losers: Wikihow, Blippr & Yahoo Answers

As search industry analysts continue to review the fallout from last week’s Google Farmer update, we’re getting new snapshots of what sites were hurt and which ones have survived the crosshairs of Google’s latest algorithm change.

One such analysis from SearchMetrics confirms much of what’s already been reported, but also adds several new names to the list of winners and losers.


( performance in SearchMetrics’ Organic Performance Index)

SearchMetrics says it continuously monitors more than 55 million domains and 25 million keywords as part of its Organic Performance Index (OPI). It compared the OPI charts from February 22nd (pre-Farmer) and March 1st to put together its list of winners and losers.

SearchMetrics’ Losers List

SearchMetrics lists 24 domains that fell the most in its OPI — I’ll list the six that saw performance drops of more than 90%.

Domain OPI_today OPI_last Difference % 11,024 529,970 -518,946 -97.9% 19,874 263,529 -243,655 -92.5% 2,970 38,237 -35,267 -92.2% 23,687 281,343 -257,656 -91.6% 13,492 157,958 -144,466 -91.5% 7,170 83,184 -76,014 -91.4%

Blippr –a site owned by Mashable that offers user-generated “micro” product reviews — is a new one that wasn’t mentioned in the Sistrix data that came out over the weekend. The other five above, and several others from the SearchMetrics list, are all included in previous reports, too.

In terms of overall visibility loss (as opposed to percentages shown above), SearchMetrics lists (a Demand Media site) and as the top two suffering sites, with Blippr third. (Note that Yahoo Answers has apparently fared well from the Farmer update as you’ll see below.)

SearchMetrics’ Winners List

The big winner, according to the OPI data, is Wikihow – which gained the most overall visibility and the highest percentage increase, too. (WikiHow, by the way, was created by the same team that owned eHow before selling it to Demand Media.)

Domain OPI_today OPI_last Difference % 455,031 254,087 200,944 79.1% 524,056 406,523 117,533 28.9% 80,142 68,685 11,457 16.7% 666,073 574,523 91,550 15.9% 944,950 831,961 112,989 13.6% 1,262,562 1,173,229 89,333 7.6% 3,157,406 3,094,804 62,602 2.0%

In its blog post, SearchMetrics calls Wikihow’s gains “remarkable” and points out that the site “appears to be a classic definition of a content farm.” It’s hard to argue that point; as I mentioned on Twitter earlier today, WikiHow is ranking No.1 on Google with articles about “how to eat a banana,” “how to eat a sandwich,” and “how to make toast.” Demand Media’s is on the winners list above, but other Demand Media sites like and were both affected negatively.

On the whole, the SearchMetrics data seems to confirm and add to the data that’s already been reported. If you missed that, see our Number Crunchers: Who Lost In Google’s “Farmer” Algorithm Change? article. Also see these others for more about the update and the topic in general:

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Content Farms | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search | 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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  • Michael Dorausch

    Crazy to see how big the percentages are for some of the sites that lost traffic after the update. One of the interesting things I’ve learned from all the news since the farmer update, is how many different sites/domains are owned by the same companies.

  • Jim Rudnick

    nice piece here Matt…..

    I’d also encourage your readers to go and read much of the same ie including analytics too that show actual drops in numbers over at both Andrews site —

    …and while I’ve not yet seen it I’ve heard that Michael Martinez also has a piece on the go on this same topic here — !


  • JackHerrick

    Hi. Jack Herrick, founder of wikiHow here. I was delighted to see that wikiHow was listed here as the largest winner of the Google algorithm update. I think this reflects the high quality content wikiHow offers compared to some other how-to sites. I’ve long believed the wiki method would produce the web’s highest quality how-to manual, just like it did for the wiki encyclopedia. I believed that so strongly that in 2006 I sold eHow to Demand Media so I could focus on wikiHow. Recently some outside observers have concluded the same thing. One search engine, DuckDuckGo even banned many of our competitors and ranked us #1 for all matching how-to queries:

    So while I love the coverage from “winning” the recent algorithm change, I’d like to disagree with the wikiHow being called a content farm for the following reasons:
    * wikiHow has “only” 100,000 articles. In comparison name brand content farms host millions of articles.
    *Similar to Wikipedia, each wikiHow article has been edited and improved by several volunteer contributors. Unlike the typical 350 word shallow article found at most how-to sites, wikiHow articles can be incredibly detailed. Many have over 2000 words, step by step photos and a video.
    * People actively chose wikiHow content, even when they don’t find it in search engines. For example over 1 million people have installed the wikiHow iPhone app.
    * We’re a small company with just 9 employees.
    * Yes there are some articles on topics that are simple or obvious such as “how to eat a banana”. But as a wiki, if a volunteer wants to write about it and other volunteers want to edit it, I won’t interfere with community dynamics by deleting that content. And in the case of the banana article, it has 800 words and probably some tips you actually didn’t know about bananas. It was edited by 61 volunteer authors, shared 221 times on Facebook, and read 113,688 times. So is allowing simple topics to stay on the wiki really so bad?

    Thanks again for the coverage.

  • Wendy Piersall

    So, I just read Vanessa’s article on the latest SMX news on the Farmer Update at, and I’m having a really hard time reconciling what she and the Google team says with this list of ‘winners’. It’s all talk of ‘content, content, content’ when it’s clear that the winners are creating anything but good content. I still think we have a ‘location, location, location’ problem going on here.

    And it is so frustrating to hear Matt Cutts wax poetic on the “improvements” of this update when it is also decimating the traffic of thousands of really quality, legit sites. They aren’t talking about that publicly at all, and while eHow wins, thousands of small businesses are going under.

  • Carl Townsend

    What about the yellow page and DEX directories with the Farmer change at Google? Did they lose, gain, or stay the same?

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