Google Trying To Minimize Collateral Damage From “Farmer” Update

Matt McGee on
  • Categories: Channel: SEO, Content Farms, Features: General, Google: SEO, Google: Web Search
  • Google is aware that some “good” sites have been hurt by the recent Farmer algorithm update and is working to fix the problem already.

    That’s according to a Wired.com story that focuses largely on Cult of Mac, an Apple-centric blog that lost 80% of its keyword rankings according to the Sistrix data that came out shortly after Google announced that the new algorithm had been launched. In the Wired article, Cult of Mac Editor Leander Kahney says the site’s traffic fell between 33 and 50 percent.

    Google’s Amit Singhal tells Wired that the new algorithm’s effects are “widely positive,” but says that “no algorithm is 100% accurate.” He says Google won’t manually change rankings for any site that was wrongly caught by the Farmer update, but the company is already working on “a new layer” to improve it.

    “Therefore any time a good site gets a lower ranking or falsely gets caught by our algorithm — and that does happen once in a while even though all of our testing shows this change was very accurate — we make a note of it and go back the next day to work harder to bring it closer to 100 percent.”

    “That’s exactly what we are going to do, and our engineers are working as we speak building a new layer on top of this algorithm to make it even more accurate than it is,” Singhal said.

    It’s possible that Google’s changes are already rolling out. Wired did its interviews on Monday, and Kahney contacted them today to say that his site is “miraculously back.” There are also anecdotal reports in the comments of our Who Lost In Google’s “Farmer” Algorithm Change? story from others saying they’re also seeing signs of recovery.

    On a related note, if there’s any recovery for Mahalo — another site hit hard by the Farmer update — it will come too late for some employees. Founder Jason Calacanis announced today that Mahalo has cut about 10% of its staff due to traffic and revenue losses from the Farmer update.

    (image courtesy Shutterstock)

    Postscript: See our follow-up piece, Google: We’ve Made No “Significant” Changes To The Farmer Update.


    About The Author

    Matt McGee
    Matt McGee joined Third Door Media as a writer/reporter/editor in September 2008. He served as Editor-In-Chief from January 2013 until his departure in July 2017. He can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee.