Crops a failing for content farms

Posted on January 4, 2012


Research commissioned by New Scientist (NS) has suggested that content farms have been hit a devastating blow by the major search engines.

Content farms have been with us for almost as long as the Internet and, for a large proportion of search queries, were responsible for populating the top SERPs on more than just Google.

The problem is that the information contained in the articles is largely irrelevant, often poorly articulated and, essentially, meaningless to the reader. The sites linked to are merely a way for (often) spurious companies to generate clicks on adverts hosted there.

However, it could appear that updates to algorithms this year, most notably Google’s Panda, have gone a long way to negating their effectiveness.

Highlighting this, the NS report focusses on a company famed for farming content from cheap freelance writers; US-based Demand Media has seen more than 50% wiped off its market value since the update.

The fight against meaningless sites is also asking search engine users to help.

For its part, Google is giving them the ability to block sites from appearing in their search results. Every time a site is blocked, Google demotes it (apparently).

The results of the research from NS shows, once again, that staying relevant and useful to the reader is the important thing. Producing content for a search engine is one thing, but producing content for the aim of the search is quite another.

It is good news for ethical SEO marketers, who invest a lot of time and money in professional writers. It is also good news for ethical freelance writers, who have long been usurped despite their best efforts.

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