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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    New Google Dance: The Farmer Update and Scraper Update
    It is official. Google is cleaning house.

    There is a major update going on: The Farmer Update

    in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what's going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful.
    Official Google Blog: Finding more high-quality sites in search

    More on the Scraper Update:

    Officially, Google isn't saying the algorithm change is targeting content farms. The company specifically declined to confirm that, when I asked. However, Matt Cutts — who heads Google's spam fighting team — told me, "I think people will get the idea of the types of sites we're talking about."


    Google Forecloses On Content Farms With “Farmer” Algorithm Update



  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    Apparently the Scraper update happened the beginning of the month but I was unaffected.

    On Feb 23, around 9pm I saw my main site loose rankings. Yesterday, I lost 28% of traffic. Another site I started 4 months ago, actually improved rankings. Other little niche sites were unaffected. I know that there will be still waves of this coming and still crossing my fingers.

    Anyone see any changes?

  3. #3
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Interesting indeed. A welcome concept - to reduce visibility of the scraper sites and content farms and improve rankings to the sites that truly serve the readers/visitors.

    I hope they can pull it off without "messing up" those of us who do provide sites that offer a good experience to our readers. That would be a shame. But it will be good to get rid of the "spun" content generators and other scammy/spammy ways of creating sites for the "get rich quick" crowd.
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  4. #4
    15 years and counting
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    The changes are obvious but it's too early for me to feel their effects. The algo takes forever to stabilize. Beyond ranking what's important is conversion. I need more time to check if I'll make more money or not.

  5. #5
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    This new move from Google will shut down many small website who are sitting with high PR by black hat SEO activity. Google is going to monitor the contents and flag the copy content.

  6. #6
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    As always, Google is beating their drum and giving themselves way too much credit. Of course they can filter out blatant cases, but there is always going to be some collateral damage to many who just keep things plain and simple and have not done anything manipulative.

    Matt Cutts is the last person somebody should listen to. A webmaster should only believe what they learn from first-hand experience and observation as far as what works and what doesn't, and try to adapt when affected by algo changes. It can be a roller coaster ride sometimes but that approach is not nearly as exhausting as running the treadmill that Google invites us to run on.

    The recently announced manual penalties against big players are proof that Google's line has been a pile of self-backpattery BS for a long time now.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    ...Of course they can filter out blatant cases, but there is always going to be some collateral damage to many who just keep things plain and simple and have not done anything manipulative...
    As I am apparently one who did no wrong but still got a taste of some shrapnel, I couldn't agree more.

    As they say from where I come from: when you pee on Google, Google gets wet. When Google pees on you - you drown.

    Even that I never tried any tricks on Google to begin with.

  8. #8
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    "The impact of Google's latest search ranking algorithm update is starting to show.
    Article Aggregators Hardest Hit By Google Update"

    Mahalo, Business.com, Article Aggregators Hardest Hit By Google Update #SEWatch

    Interesting information like "Google Algorithm Change Losers"
    If you get your backlinks from them, you're toasted.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador kaizen's Avatar
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    Not all who derive the majority of their backlinks from Article Aggregators have been hurt yet, in fact some have risen in the SERPS.

    It's still far too soon to see how this will all pan out, and just like every other major algo change, the Henny Penny's are out in full force.

    As always, the majority of sites that have quality content and have a natural diversity in their backlinks will likely be fine at the end of the dance.

  10. #10
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    The last few days have been really great. Traffic up, Conversion up... I've no idea if it's going to last but it's a pleasant surprise. I may double my commissions if the trend stay the same.
    It could be the first Google Algo change I really like.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I am seeing higher traffic too, don't know that these things are related -too soon. It may be awhile before things are done shaking out so I'm not celebrating anything yet.

  12. #12
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    It's too soon to celebrate but these last few years I've had a steady traffic, I suppose due to the Google "throttle" effect on some sites. So, breaking this traffic barrier for the first time in a long period is encouraging. Hope it's not just a spike.

  13. #13
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    I experience a very slow recovery in the last two days. I noticed that old pages I have now got "surfaced" so people seem to find them more often. Very strange - exactly those pages are less important to my earnings.

    Still not even close to what I had before.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager affilorama's Avatar
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    If you have good quality content, I'm sure the pages will climb back up the SERPS again.
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  15. #15
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I would love to hear that affiliate who worked hard on their sites to add value were rewarded by Google.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    Here is another list of some big sites affected:

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?...=0&output=html

    Some of them I am glad to see on the list but others I am surprised about. Especially the ones you assume are authority sites in a certain niche since they are so large and backed by large corporations.

    Personally, my main site lost rankings from no. 3-4 (first page) to no. 11 (second page) of my main key words. Long tail still doing well but also slipped by couple of spots. That is about 25% lost traffic. My other new site just launched in Nov last year has moved up. Other older sites remained the same. So the net effect in revenue - hardly no change.

    We'll see what's next.

  17. #17
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    Ladidah, thanks for posting the spreadsheet link!

    At first glance I see a few sites I always felt were questionable... but you're right about a few surprises in there as well. There were a few top-ranked affiliate shopping comparison sites that seemed untouchable. I used to look at them as a benchmark for success, but they actually haven't changed in years. Perhaps they got lazy...

    My own traffic/ranking appears to be unchanged, just a little up (might be a result of increased page speed loading)... I suppose that could be considered a reward!

  18. #18
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    In theory, it sounds like a great improvement at Google. We'll see how it turns out in practice. I have no doubt that there'll be some collateral damage, but hopefully it'll be minimal compared to the positive results.

    It just goes to show once again that it's much more productive to actually provide value rather than chasing the "what works today" SEO techniques.
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  19. #19
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    Impressive list of losers. Thanks Ladidah.
    All these hype bubbles (like Articles Marketing) are one of the reasons affiliate marketers have a hard time. Don't follow the crowd.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    All these hype bubbles (like Articles Marketing) are one of the reasons affiliate marketers have a hard time.
    Like many useful traffic building techniques, the theory and practice of article marketing diverged when it became "the road to overnight riches", and article marketing became scraped and spun crapola done solely for a backlink. Blog commenting was once a respected way to earn traffic, but looking at the guck that gets cleaned out of Akismet every few hours, it has degenerated into something that serves no purpose whatever. Remember Webrings?

    Don't follow the crowd is sage advice.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    The single biggest problem I have with those sites which lost and those which (sort of) one, is this: I have no clue why ehow.com didn't suffer a major hit if they want to go after some of the more worthless content farms.

    I search nearly every day for "how to" stuff in Google. Almost always ehow.com is in the top 3-5 returns. And almost always the content is either ridiculously simplistic and worthless, or just plain wrong.

    So who kisses what body parts at Google to get a pass for ehow.com??

    Gary

    P.S. Perhaps I haven't looked closely enough at the lists of those who lost but at least I THINK ehow.com seems to have gotten an undeserved pass in this whole mess. I easily find more useful content at associated content and sometimes even hubpages than at ehow.com
    Last edited by writerguy; March 1st, 2011 at 12:27 PM. Reason: Edited to ad "P.S."
    Generate more fake news.

  22. #22
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    eHow or more exactly The CEO of Demand Media, Richard Rosenblatt, said they have a special partnership with Google (I've no idea of what body parts at Google they are talking about).

    "eHow--perhaps the single best-known product of content farming--doesn't seem to have been hurt by Google's revisions. In fact, Sistrix says eHow is now doing better in Google's results than before."

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    superCool doesn't understand how an algorithm can tell the difference between well written crap and not so well written quality content. the articles superCool has looked at were pretty worthless, but the writing was not bad and there was nothing about the format that said "crap". the articles were crap because the writer didn't really say anything useful. how can google know that? hard to fathom for this dork

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superCool View Post
    superCool doesn't understand how an algorithm can tell the difference between well written crap and not so well written quality content. the articles superCool has looked at were pretty worthless, but the writing was not bad and there was nothing about the format that said "crap". the articles were crap because the writer didn't really say anything useful. how can google know that? hard to fathom for this dork
    Writerguy wonders exactly the same thing. He believes the most significant distinction between a good site with content and a content farm site revolves around that issue -- "the articles were crap because the writer didn't really say anything useful."

    How indeed does Google do it? Or THINK they do it?

    Gary
    Generate more fake news.

  25. #25
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    See Watson on Jeopardy. Computers are getting VERY good at semantic interpretation. Couple that with natural back link building, and you have an algorithm.

    Also, Google has a pretty good idea how long visitors stay on websites, which is a decent indication of the quality of the content. Over a large sample set, anyhow.
    Kevin Webster
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