Bill Swan sent me a guest post today telling how he’s made a good thing out of writing for content mills. He also sent me a link to an article on ZDNet called Google, content farms and one slippery slope. Larry Dignan wrote it a couple of days ago, sparked by Google’s own blog post, Google vows to work on spam-ridden search.
You know the problem. You plug in a search term and the first unpaid listings are of questionable or no value at all. Instead they are designed only to generate adsense income. Google says:
Just as a reminder, webspam is junk you see in search results when websites try to cheat their way into higher positions in search results or otherwise violate search engine quality guidelines.
The link in that quote points to a complicated, at least to me, description of how Google is trying to use statistics to reduce webspam. I think they’re probably making slow progress. But as Dignan points out, in many cases webspam is in the eye of the beholder. Oh sometimes it’s obvious, but not always. Some of those articles actually have some value.
Google is now targeting content farms – a link called low-quality sites points to a mercifully short and quite technical video on how they are trying to reduce webspam.
The terms “quality content” show up again and again, both on Google’s blog and on any reputable teacher of SEO – it’s simply a must over the long haul.
My hunch is this means we are gradually going to see many of the poor quality content mills or farms go by the wayside because they will cease to make money. At the same time, content farms that understand the business will begin to demand, better content from their writers. This will be accompanied, one hopes, by a raise in pay – slow, and not spectacular, still…
Google also makes it clear it welcomes input from users – that’s us. Their Web Search Help page has a place to ask a question – you can make a suggestion there as well. I know from my own experience that Google answers email when it is polite and well written – at least they answer mine.