Link building is good. Content is good. Content farms are bad. If you’re new to SEO or even building your business on the Internet, you are probably quite confused by those statements.
From newbies to advanced online businesses and brands, many people get downright frustrated when they think about link building online and to become successful, you need to know what is content farming, how Google’s algorithm (programming) changes affect link building and what in the world is a Google Panda. If you need to ask whether or not you have a content farm, then you need to read on.
What is a Content Farm?
“A website which tries to attract users and improve its search engine rankings by publishing large amounts of low quality content or content copied from other websites.” (MacMillan Dictionary)
In Human SEOtm terms, “content farms” are websites that use unethical practices, such as building a massive link-heavy website with over 100 low quality links or stealing other people’s content and publishing it as their own for higher keyword density. The lower the quality of content and links on your website – for the sole purpose of increasing SEO – is unethical and not only annoys the search engines but your potential customers as well. If you are into black hat SEO tactics, content farming would be one of them.
Google’s Thoughts on Content Farming
Search engines pride themselves on providing high quality content that fosters community involvement and sharing. The search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! love ethical, organic and natural SEO as it allows them the ability to increase their own success and brand awareness. That’s where white hat SEO tactics, such as Human SEO, come in as such strategies work in hand with major search engine goals. When someone uses a search engine, they want to find the exact item or content they were looking for the first time.
To meet its goals, Google has claimed war against content farming with its newest search engine algorithm, codenamed Panda.
Google’s Panda and Content Farms
After seeing a dramatic increase in web spam and low quality content, Google released this statement:
“As “pure webspam” has decreased over time, attention has shifted instead to “content farms,” which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. In 2010, we launched two major algorithmic changes focused on low-quality sites. Nonetheless, we hear the feedback from the web loud and clear: people are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content. We take pride in Google search and strive to make each and every search perfect. The fact is that we’re not perfect, and combined with users’ skyrocketing expectations of Google, these imperfections get magnified in perception. However, we can and should do better.” (The Official Google Blog)
A few months later, the newest search engine algorithm change, Panda, was released. Originally named “Farmer” the Panda update attacked web spam including content farming. The goal was simply to bring the high quality content to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) while either demoting or totally removing web spam and content farms from Google.
Do you have a Content Farm?
There are 5 ways you increase your risk of being seen as a content farm.
- Your SEO expert or business uses black hat SEO tactics
- You scrape or steal content from other websites
- Your website has more than 100 external links on any page
- Your website lacks quality unique content
- Your keyword density is over 10% for any specific word or phrase
Quality Unique Content Combats Content Farms
The key to remember is that creating memorable and compelling original content leads to success. Share your original content through social media, e-mails and other media sources to make sure your content is being seen. The more popular your content becomes, the more success you will see without having to resort to content farming tactics.
Tricking the search engines to pay attention to your content farming website not only fails in optimizing your website but opens the opportunity to have it blacklisted from the major search engines. When you create the illusion of quality content on your website, also damage relationships with potential and exisiting customers.
Do yourself and your business justice – be real and unique to be successful. Leave your content farming tools in the barn.
Is there anything else you would like to learn from Shannon? Was your website impacted by the Panda update? Do you have a content farm?
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you leave a comment below!