Recently Google released its Farmer update that has changed almost 12% of all Google searches, with that websites were sprung into the higher positions while other sites were bumped for being content farm websites. Sites like hubpages, Ezinearticles and American Towns took a major blow to their organic traffic and to their wallets. This update didn’t surprise me nor should it have surprised them. But I’ll bet it did.
The internet is a mess and websites with automated content from scrapers and spinners are growing at an alarming rate. Google had to do something and while some really legit sites may have fallen victim to the update, it was still necessary. The sites that got flagged as content farms need to step back and look at their processes. User-generated content which was the marketing strategy for most of these sites, well that and trying to match content with keyword search demand is not easy money anymore, and content from scrape, spin and submit crews is no longer as valuable to these mega-sites but that won’t stop crews.
So what are these sites to do to get their traffic back? They can separate content that is brought in through RSS feeds or scraped. They can hire professional writers like Advanced Online Strategies does, not that they don’t already have professional writers, but they can hold them to higher standards, and even copyscape everything they submit, and even do that for user generated content as well. Most of the successful internet marketers I know make sure they use unique content on their websites. They still submit articles and create hubpages, wiki pages, etc., but they use entirely different content for that, because they know that it will be scraped along with a good portion of the embedded back links. Yet, they don’t want their money sites to be included as those having the same content as the poorer quality sites that do all the scraping. But what can these big sites do after they have original content on their website to prevent it from being scraped causing it to dilute the uniqueness? That’s where it gets tricky, but there are ways to ensure you get credit for your content and not all of them require a canonicalization tag. As for traffic to your site, the most important thing you can do is establish a good relationship by providing content users can count on to be quality and accurate. I know of a couple of websites that were blocked by Google from indexing them, not before warnings from Google though, yet they had tremendous traffic, get this, because people wanted what they were providing. We wish all businesses effected from the Farmers update the best of luck, but more than luck, you need a new strategy.