Content matters a lot in the SEO world these days. This is especially true as Google, the top-dog of the search engine industry, has made it a point a few years ago to update their search engine’s algorithms so that it prioritizes quality content more than it does the heavily-abused backlinks. The content can be anything, from written articles to various visual media.
Of course, such change prompted many Internet marketers to get in a race to fill their sites with content. Unfortunately, not many seem to care about the fact that Google Search is precisely looking for quality content. As such, many just opt to prioritize quantity and regularity when it comes to site content instead of quality. Some would even go as far as buying content generators or hire cheap low-quality freelancers to hastily create content in an attempt to quickly fill their sites up and manipulate their search engine rankings.
What’s more unfortunate – for the quantity-over-quality types anyway – is that Google is rapidly moving to penalize sites that have low-quality content in it. The search engine is most especially geared up to punish sites that are considered content farms.
Content farms do not necessarily mean a site bloated with content. If that is the case, then we might as well classify news websites and even Wikipedia itself as such. Rather, sites labeled as content farms are those that employ a large number of writers to generate loads of textual content for the sake of search engine optimization. Besides satisfying the search engines’ algorithms, content farms also aim to attract organic traffic and thus page views, that will in turn, generate revenue from advertisement.
While content farm owners tend to hire freelancers to bloat their sites with textual content, others, like article directories, merely solicit the support of SEO marketers. For this, they enable users to publish their own content to their site and link the said content to their own websites.
The problem with the latter set up is that many content farms are very tolerant and have lax publishing rules. As such, they end up being abused by many SEO marketers who regularly load the sites with content that are either hastily written or created with the use of various content creation software, like spinners and content generators. Such content are often gibberish, badly-done, or are plainly ripped off other sites. Other marketers set up and populate content farms on their own. Like many lax directories, they tend to have low quality content.
The slew of low quality content farms surely has alerted Google to the fact that these content mills produce the majority of backlinks available online. Soon enough, Penguin rolled in, backlinks lost a lot of relevance, and, updates later, Google overhauled its search engine algorithm to reduce the effectiveness of content farms and provide better rankings to sites with high-quality content. The way the search engine giant does this is by negatively ranking content farms that contains articles with little to no quality. This will, in turn, affect the ranking of sites linked to the penalized farms.
While content and links both matter in today’s SEO, people who are looking to improve their sites’ rankings should be really mindful of the content they publish and the directories or blogs that they are linking their sites to. Learn to identify bad content farms, and don’t let your site become one itself.