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

Danny Sullivan on
  • Categories: Channel: SEO, Features: General, Google: SEO, Panda Update News, Panda Update Tips
  • 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:


    About The Author

    Danny Sullivan
    Danny Sullivan was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space from 1996 through 2017. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech events. He retired from journalism and Third Door Media in June 2017. You can learn more about him on his personal site & blog He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.