Google's Next Target: Content Farms & On Page Spam

Jan 24, 2011 • 8:58 am | comments (11) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

SpamThe big news over the weekend was a blog post by Google's Matt Cutts at the Google blog named Google search and search engine spam.

In this blog post, Matt Cutts acknowledges Google has recently seen an "uptick of spam in recent months" in their search results. They have made attempts at reducing this spam and has decided to share what they recently have done and what is coming up in the near future.

(1) Redesigned document-level classifier that makes it harder for spammy on-page content to rank highly. The new classifier is better at detecting spam on individual web pages, e.g., repeated spammy words—the sort of phrases you tend to see in junky, automated, self-promoting blog comments.

(2) Google has "radically improved our ability to detect hacked sites, which were a major source of spam in 2010."

In the near future, Google promises to take even "stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content." Does that mean targeting Demand Media, Mahalo and the kind? I am not sure, but I guess time will tell.

I know that many SEOs and webmasters are a bit nervous about this announcement. A site that aggregates quality content and mashes it up in a way that might be helpful may soon be hit by this new spam detection algorithm. Or it might not. Like I said, time will tell.

Member of WebmasterWorld, Wheel said:

The idea of Google trying to determine that through an algo, and the guaranteed huge fallout from that (on non-spammy sites) should be enough to make anyone scared.

Tedster replied:

I agree, wheel. This is a very big job to try to give an automated algo. However, the content farm challenge is immense, too - they've just got to do something. In some verticals it can take a ridiculous number of clicks to find anything worth reading at all.

I'm pretty sure there will be some false positives from this effort before they "get it right" even most of the way.

The hard thing is figuring out how Google will classify such a site. Once that is determined, which might not ever happen because Google adjusts those classifications over time, only then can you feel safe. But as any experienced SEO knows, there is no such thing as feeling safe with Google.

Are you worried? Which sites do you think will be hit by this specifically?

Forum discussion at Sphinn, Cre8asite Forums, WebmasterWorld and DigitalPoint Forums.

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01/24/2011 08:04 pm

Google cant even deal with the most basic link schemes, never mind the content farms ?


01/24/2011 10:46 pm

Could be good, could be bad. I personally would love it if Google figured out a way to discern what on a page was content, and what was everything else. I'm going to pick on eHow, generally I hate eHow because their tutorials are way too short to be helpful, and lack pictures. Most seem to have been written in less than 5 minutes. But invariable if I search for how to do something (typically fixing something around the house) eHow is a top result, but it almost never answers my question. I'd love it if Google could start judging content by length, not just by relevance, to perhaps give pages with longer content a bit of a boost. No more 350 word worthless articles. IMO, rarely is an article useful if it is less than 750 words.

SEO Services India

01/25/2011 12:41 pm

Change is always come with discomfort, now Google coming with new filters so SEO guys are going to be tensed and worried.

Aurelius Tjin

01/25/2011 01:13 pm

I am also wondering how Google will be able to classify sites as spammy. It's an interesting thought though...But if Google will be able to do it, that's definitely a good thing. That would be the net.


01/29/2011 05:08 pm

Valid point on "Content Farms" and crappy content making legit. companies look bad... On another side - this "Google Witch Hunt" will typically screw up legit Small Business owners working hard for Lead Generation in order to get more clients... - Glen Glen B. Stewart Lead Generation Specialist Getting More Clients and Patients for Small Business Globally


02/01/2011 06:51 am

Hi all, I may sound novice but what actually is a content farm? I would appreciate a detailed explanation. Thanks.

Barry Schwartz

02/01/2011 11:06 am

A site that basically has no unique content. Just 'farms' out there content from 3rd parties and places it on their own site.


02/02/2011 07:06 am

But as you know If your website is very young and some trusted website will copy your unique content Google can think that your young website is "farm"

Trusted Breast Pumps

02/02/2011 08:27 am

interesting for SEO personals ...

Mark-Click Here Now Marketing

02/24/2011 06:37 pm

This is interesting and we always await the latest google update and change accordingly, but really we should mainly concentrate efforts on giving Google searching what they want, after all thats all Google is trying to do.

Pakistani Boy

03/22/2011 09:49 pm

Formula stays same that Real Content is King.

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