It’s been coming since late February, but Google has now rolled out its Farmer Update in the UK, and site owners are already discovering a few unpleasant surprises. Although international site owners have had several weeks to study the effects of Farmer in the US, it was always on the cards that Google would make a few changes. And it has.
The Farmer Update, which was rolled out in the US at the end of February, targeted sites with low-quality content such as content farms. The update is in line with Google’s goal for the year, cracking down on spam and improving the quality of search results. The update did, however, cause a bit of a stir with US site owners as it affected a far greater than usual number of pages.
The algorithm update came live for all English-based sites on April 11. The update will affect all results from English-speaking countries, as well as English language queries on non-English sites.
As with any Google update, it is too early to tell exactly what changes have been made or how it will affect the average site’s search engine optimisation plan. What can be told is how broad the scope of this update will be, as any site with content issues, from a Wirral solicitors to an Edinburgh media company, stands to suffer. As the US release affected almost 12% of queries, it is certain that the international release will present a few nasty surprises to many UK site owners.