Google Farmer Update aka Panda - What You Need to Know


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Google has recently made a huge update to the algorithm, known in SEO circles as the Farmer update, Google Panda update, making it a hot topic. Find out what this means to you.

Author - Sean Butcher, Account Executive, I Spy

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Google Farmer Update aka Panda - What You Need to Know

  1. 1. Google’s ‘Farmer/Panda’ Algorithm Change<br />
  2. 2. What Is A Content Farm?<br />“Articles in content farms have been found to contain identical passages across several media sources, leading to questions about the sites placing search engines optimization goals over factual relevance”.<br />“(They are) low quality sites – sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful”<br /> &<br />
  3. 3. An Important Point<br />However, like most algorithm changes that happen in the USA, its very likely that we will see them here in the future...<br />
  4. 4. What’s Changed?<br />On the 24th February 2011, Google rolled out a new algorithm change to combat content farms<br />Change was in two parts – first aimed at scraper sites and second targeting content farms<br />Earlier update happened at start of February<br />11.8% of websites were affected by the changes<br />Should help sites with quality, original content<br />Will harm those with content that offers no benefit for users<br />
  5. 5. Who’s Lost Out?<br />There have been a number of high-profile casualties following the update including:<br />Ezine Articles (-90%)<br />Hub Pages (-87%)<br />Buzzle (-85%)<br />Articles base (-94%)<br />Mahalo (-84%)<br />All are sites which allow users to add content, including a link back to their own site<br />Stats published by Sistrix, reported by SEO Moz<br />
  6. 6. Controversy...<br />Ezine Articles, one of the most well-known article submission sites was hit hard by the changes, despite very tight editorial checks compared to a number of its competitors<br />In addition to the 70+ full-time people on our team who impact every single article published (quality control, link quality checking, landing page quality scoring, spam abuse detection, etc), every article is double-human reviewed by hand.<br />We’ve been both quietly and publicly at war with a small percentage of our membership who aim to use our site to game the search engines with what we refer to as “article vomit” or thinly-crafted software-spun articles.<br />Chris Knight, CEO of Ezine Articles:<br />
  7. 7. Ezine Articles<br />The day of the change traffic was down 11.5%, and 35% the day after...<br />Chris Knight vowed to make changes to the site, including 10% fewer articles accepted, a word count increase, tighter keyword density limit, and stopping submissions through Wordpress blogs<br />He also made the suggestion to add the ‘nofollow’ attribute to all links; this was quickly retracted when users reacted furiously to the idea, threatening to boycott the site<br />Does this show that Google are right, and that Ezine Article’s users are purely using this and similar services as a mean of gaining a backlink to their own site/blog?<br />
  8. 8. Even Google Make Mistakes<br />Google did make slight tweaks to the algorithm change following multiple complaints from sites wrongly affected<br />Website owners could submit any complaints to Google Webmaster help forums<br />"We deeply care about the people who are generating high-quality content sites, which are the key to a healthy web ecosystem. Any time a good site gets a lower ranking or falsely gets caught by our algorithm we make a note of it and go back the next day to work harder to bring it closer to 100 percent."<br />AmitSinghal, head of company search quality ,ranking and algorithm, source:<br />
  9. 9. What Does It Mean For Websites?<br />Google, more than ever before wants to see good quality content on a website<br />Websites will benefit if they are authoritative and informative to their industry/niche<br />Content may need to stand out/offer something different from the norm and be noticed<br />This could mean being shared via social bookmarking, Facebook likes or Tweets, as well as attracting blogger attention or natural linkage.<br />
  10. 10. What About Link Building?<br />Article submissions in particular may:<br />Not be indexed as easily<br />Not hold as much value – less link equity passing to your site<br />Less visibility of articles/ability to reach a wider audience with content<br />Less visitors coming to site through links within your articles<br />
  11. 11. What Can Be Done Differently?<br />Write more content on your own site/blog and promote it through social media<br />Offer unique, interesting content that can be discussed and debated in your website’s community<br />Guest blogging – work together to share ideas for content<br />Attract natural linkage/come up with link bait ideas<br />
  12. 12. Summary<br />Change only in USA at the moment<br />No date agreed yet for release UK/Worldwide<br />Targeting content farms/scraper sites with low quality content<br />Number of positives as a result of change – less competition, quality sites will benefit<br />Website content/link building strategies may need to be altered in future<br />
  13. 13. Questions?<br />