Last night, our friends at Google announced a fairly large algorithm change for the better. From now on they are going to negatively rank websites that are content farms, have no quality content for users, and are all around terrible sites.
It may seem like there is a huge element of opinion in this change. I'm sure it will open up an enormous 'appeals' process by site owners. The ultimate reason for the change follows Google's #1 goal (aside from being profitable) of supplying searchers with the absolute most relevant and highest quality results.
What Are Content Farms??
Content farms are websites that are setup for the sole purpose of getting search engine traffic by loading it with extremely low quality writing or stolen content. You might be thinking, "Aren't all websites meant to get search engine traffic?". Yes and no really. Yes, it is true that you want search traffic, but ultimately, the purpose of your site is not to get search traffic, but rather give customers information and functionality they are looking for and prospects the bait they need to become customers.
Shady SEO Services - Guilty By Association
I'm sure you have gotten emails, snail mail, or phone calls from black hat SEO firms that use the technique of content farms or link farms to boost your website's ranking. It has always been a bad idea to create or use link/content farms. It's even worse of an idea now!
As Google's algorithm gets better, it will not be at all surprising to see websites that have tried benefiting from getting content placed in content farms get negatively evaluated in the search engines.
Should A Small Business Care?
Only if you want your site to rank well in search engines :)... DUH! Of course you want your website to rank well in search engines! As the competitive environment increases it's tempting to try to use unaccepted tactics to gain an advantage. Clearly, content farms and link farms have just increased in risk with not a whole lot of return.
As a small business owner, you need to be sure that your web marketing firm, or consultants are NOT using these tactics to get your site ranked well. At protocol 80, we NEVER use black hat techniques to rank our clients' sites. We put in the hard work to do it correctly.
We'd be happy to hear your thoughts on this change in the comments below!