Many sites loose upto 50% traffic after Google’s new ‘farmer’ search algorithm change, which targeted to weed out content forms from search results.
Yesterday, Google opened a forum where site owners could solicit feedback on the changes. In less than 24 hours it has received around 135 complaints from websites whose traffic and search ranks plummeted as a result of the algorithm change.
Few days back, Google altered its search algorithm to demote “low-quality” sites in its search results. The change was widely dubbed a “farmer update” because it targeted content-farming websites that aggregate unoriginal content.
What Affected Site Owners Said:
* Theteacherscorner.net, a 13-year-old site with “several million monthly pageviews and thousands of pages of original content for K-12 educators” said its traffic dropped by 40 percent and ad revenue by 50 percent. “This is a huge and devastating hit to the well-being of our website.”
* Healthhype.com said its site lost 50 percent of its U.S. traffic, even though its articles are original and apparently cost $100 to produce. Real estate page www.c21theharrelsongroup.com saw its placement for a “Myrtle Beach” search go from a number 11 rank to the fourth page of results.
* Labnol.org said, However, what makes me more sad is the fact that Google algorithms have labeled Digital Inspiration as a ‘content farm’ despite having tons of high-quality and original articles. And there’s little I can do about it.
* Europesiteforvisitors.com, After experiencing a 35 percent drop in U.S. traffic last week, he added a “nofollow” attribute to affiliate links and cleaned out archived material to “help Google distinguish our site from content farms.” But so far, no cigar.
* We are a small Internet startup, Advizo, based in Woodland Hills, CA and have experienced a significant drop in our traffic (almost 35%) as a result of this change (with an equivalent drop in revenue). We believe that our only crime is that we host user-generated content.
* Others that claimed to be negatively affected are Automobilemag.com, online since 1996, and tech blog I4U News, which said it saw a 30 percent drop in traffic.
What Google Says on New Search Algorithm: “Our recent changes to help people find high-quality sites are entirely algorithmic and we have not taken manual action, nor will we take manual action to address particular sites. Instead, we will consider feedback from publishers and the community as we continue to refine our algorithms to improve our search quality at scale.”
After the algorithm change came a host of compilations of affected sites and statements from companies assuring the world that they were unscathed. New stats continue to come out, including the latest data showing that Associated Content had a 90% drop in search performance.
An analysis of similar domains with a .co.uk extension on google.co.uk index showed that there was an overall slight increase in traffic. Thus, as of yet, the update is only really effective on google.com and still has to swap over to Europe. However, the UK counterparts of domains like hubpages.com or mahalo.com should be prepared to see changes.
Although eHow.com has always been taken as an example of industrial low-value content, they have actually gained visibility following this update. While the content may be of questionable value, like how to buy a teddy bear, user criteria such as bounce rates, visit duration, and social reach, for example, have obviously been part of the quality guidelines of the update. We also believe that if pages that are genuinely visually attractive to a user, the page will be spared by the Farmer Update. Meaning that ranking is going to come down to how a user values a page, as opposed to just what content is on it.