Google Updates Search Algorithms to Discourage Content Farming

by Cole O’C
Back in February 2011, Google changed at least part of their search algorithms, resulting in rather different search results for the same search criteria. Google said that this is one of their biggest changes, which will affect about 12% of their results. Gabrial Stricker, a Google spokesman, explained that their goal is to give users the most relevant answers to their queries, which requires constant algorithm changing. The article explains that one of the apparent changes is to “content farms,” which are sites that publish content based on the most-searched terms of the day in an effort to attract more users. Another important change is that companies that create fake websites that link to their own, which would have boosted results under the previous algorithm, are being penalized in their position on the search results. Overall, it seems like Google’s algorithm changes are looking to eliminate certain ways of gaming the system that they found dishonest.

I am in favor of these changes, as the end result is that users like myself get more relevant search results. I’m very glad that content farming is being discouraged, as it really throws off valuable information that I could otherwise find. The article mentioned a very bad example of content farming in which the Huffington Post put up a “story” that was essentially just stating when the Superbowl that year started, but resulted in it being one of the top results when looking up things about the Superbowl, and brought a lot of traffic to the website. Obviously playing off what people are interested in can be good, but it needs to be quality content. If a lot of sites did what the Huffington Post did, then search results would be a bunch of lackluster results for the first two pages, which is about as far as I’m willing to look most of the time.

I also really like the change made in regards to creating fake websites that link to their own. The article mentions that Overstock.com and JC Penny were major offenders in this, which I think is rather tacky. I want to be able to look something up and get valid results that will help me find information about my query, not find pages that are only there because the company bought a bunch of websites and used them to link to itself. I really like Google as a whole, and I think that their search engine is a major part of life and the spread of information in modern society. As such, I am very pleased to see them struggling to keep their information clean and relevant for their users.

Goldman, David. (2011, Feb 25). Cnn money. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/25/technology/gaming_google/index.htm

3 thoughts on “Google Updates Search Algorithms to Discourage Content Farming”

  1. Interesting article that lets you know about what companies are capable of to increase their profits and Google techniques used to avoid dishonesty made by this companies which creates many fake web pages that link to their own web page. I think it would be good to search for more articles that list other offenders like JC Penny.

  2. I am glad to hear that Google is doing something about dishonest companies, especially because it happens quite a lot. They are making our lives easier, as users, because we want the most relevant information possible. I personally have experience sites that have nothing to do with what I am actually looking for, but because they are flooded with key words, search engines pick them up.

  3. I find it interesting how companies choose search engine optimization to market themselves opposed to traditional marketing methods. Although I can’t put the companies at fault because search engines are currently a very effective channel to market (being free and all), I don’t believe that the means to search engine optimize will justify the outcome especially when Google is continuing to improve their algorithm and the internet growing at the pace that it does. Smaller companies will probably have a better outcome marketing to specific internet users that visit relevant websites instead of marketing to the entire internet through Google.

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