Google today made a major change to its search algorithm that will affect almost 12% of all queries. According to a blog post written by the company’s Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts, this change is meant to highlight high-quality sites and push down “sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful.” While Google doesn’t mention content farms by name, there can be little doubt that this update is directly aimed at them and scraper sites that just copy content.
According to Google, this update doesn’t take any data from the Personal Blocklist Chrome extension into account, yet. The update does track well with the top blocked sites by Google’s users, though. Indeed, Google says the update addresses 84% of them, though it didn’t go into any details as to which sites specifically would be affected. For now, this change is only in effect in the U.S. (where the content farm problem is most prevalent), but Google plans to roll this change out “elsewhere over time.”
The SEO community is, of course, already discussing these updates, though given how recent these changes are, a lot of the discussion is based more on speculation than fact at this point. A number of publishers are already complaining that their sites’ ranking have been reduced drastically thanks to this update.
Overall, it’s hard to asses the extend of this update yet, but if Google is correct, then this update will hopefully mean that good content will once again be rewarded on Google and the so-called content farms can soon close up shop.
For a more in-depth look at how this change came about, also take a look at Danny Sullivan’s excellent post on Search Engine Land.
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