Crap Content: Google Tries To Stem The Tide

Posted on 08. Mar, 2011 by Tony Wanless in B2B Marketing, Content, expertise marketing

In an attempt to fight the content farms that are proliferating on the Web, Google has changed the way it ranks content. It will work for a while, but not forever.

Google has changed its algorithms to lower the search rankings of the content farms that have proliferated on the Web, thereby opening the door for higher quality content to gain greater visibility in Google searches.

I say good on Google. It’s about time.

These farms amass low-end content (such as 3 Easy Ways To Tie Your Shoes, or anything Charlie Sheen or the self-immolating celebrity du jour) either by paying some slave wage to a writer or by scraping the content from other sites, search engine optimize it to death with keyword stuffing and other tricks, and make millions off pay per click and other ads aimed at people who actually read this stuff, or at least view it for a nano-second.

Google says it “depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.” — (by way of Catherine Lockey.)

I’m betting that content farms are definitely not on the list of “wonderful websites” — although, admittedly, some legitimate agregators have suffered from the change.

These farms are the scourge of the web, turning what is supposed to be an information source for the masses into a mass advertising platform of useless and often trivial information. This drowns any hope of finding something of value from businesses trying to display their expertise, or those engaged in B2B marketing.

There’s a saying that you can find anything on the web, but these days it’s only true if you have a lot of time, because your special request will be overwhelmed by the content farms who have figured out how to game the Google system.

This roaring wave of crap content has made many B2B marketers rethink the online strategies that held so much promise only a couple of years ago.

Most of us know by now that high-quality and relevant content that displays expertise is the best route to reaching and nurturing prospects. But too many B2B marketers have been pushed by their bosses to focus on social media and SEO to improve the hit count because they see those great numbers from the content farms.

As a result, they sometimes lower the quality of their own content and consequently  add to the problem.

I don’t expect this Google move is going to stop the flow of crap content for too long — someone will always figure out how to beat the system.

But maybe, just maybe, it will make people think for a little while about how to better deliver worthwhile content to those who care about it.

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