Google Farmer Update – How It Effects Your Business Website
You may or may not have known about, but Google has recently made a rather large update to the algorithms that determine who ranks at the top of Google. It has been nicknamed the “Farmer Update” by the SEO community and his may have a significant impact on what needs to be included in your online marketing campaigns that relate to climbing to the top of Google. By tracking some of the larger sites on the web, Google has begun to give leading experts some inferences into what factors that the changes seemed to dislike and what was common in the winners.
Why The Update Was Made In The First Place
To understand how to prepare your business for these updates it is first important to understand why the update was done in the first place. Google had begun to notice a good amount of low quality content showing up in the top of their search results. Labeled as “content farms”, these website were not technically spam, but contained very little quality or value for visitors searching for information. The goal was simple, increase the quality of the information that users find in when they are searching. The results we predictable.
Note: It is important to note that correlation is not causation. For example, because the websites with dated looks lost out, it doesn’t guarantee that this is the reason. An outdated website layout could be a symptom common in websites that didn’t do well in the update, but may not be the cause. This data is preliminary.
Why It Is Important To Your SEO Efforts
Over the past several years, SEO’s have begun to heavily abuse article directories that allows users to submit content in exchange for a chance to generate valuable links to their clients websites. Millions of articles have flooded the web by being submitted in bulk to these article directories that ranked exceptionally well. The farmer update is Google’s attempt to clean up the abuse of this tactic. It seeks to give preference to higher quality content.
What Factors Lost Out
According to our own data on the updates as well as the opinions of several prominent SEO forums such SEOMoz.org, the losers include obtrusive amounts of advertising, unattractive outdated layouts, websites that had low editorial standards for “user generated content”, and “rich content” websites who structure tended to make using the content a little difficult. To elaborate Google seems to be paying attention to user interfaces and trying to gauge the quality of the experience that a person is likely to have. They are aware of things that tend to have a negative impact on a user experience like obtrusive advertising. As far as the low quality content, this one is simple. Publish less, and better content. The fact that websites with outdated and cluttered layouts lost out in the update infers that paying attention to the layout of your website may be more important than just the attractiveness of your website to potential clients.
What Factors Won
Overall, the website that had a strong well thought out user interface design, less advertising, and better content won out. This shouldn’t be a surprise. This is what Google wants at the top of the search results. The difference is that until now, what they wanted and what they rewarded we on two different paths.
What About Links?
Based on the data that has been collected so far, the number or strength of inbound links seems to not have an impact on the changes. It is important to note that it is highly likely that Google has develop a separate set of rules for websites that would fall under the category of a “content farm”. These are huge websites with hundreds of thousands if not millions of pages of content. The rules that have been put in place to govern these website may not have an effect on smaller websites in the same manner. It does most likely mean that links from article directories will most likely be significantly devalued in the future. While companies may not want to completely remove article submission from their SEO tactics, it definitely may want to consider reducing the ratio of article submission that website do compared to other strategies.
What Does It Mean To Your Web Strategy
The changes by Google are a clear sign of what they expect to see from website in the future. Companies that take this guidance will win out in the future. More thought out navigation structures, SEO campaigns more focused on quality over quantity of content and link building will win out. It also, means that link building campaigns (About 70-80% of the equation for how Google determines who ranks at the top of Google in competitive markets) will need to be more in line with Google’s idealistic reason for using links as the main factor in their algorithm to begin with. Content that is considered valuable, and websites that people find easy to use, and link building campaigns that build value for people as opposed to merely obtaining links.
A Word Of Caution
Google has a long history of saying one thing and doing another. While a wise business prepares for obtaining long term results, it may be costly for a business to prepare for what may happen in the future and ignore what works today. A balance must be met. That is why it is so important to have knowledgeable internet marketing & SEO consultant to guide you through the complex decisions of creating an online marketing strategy that find the best of both.