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“Ain’t going to work on Maggie’s farm…”

… no more.Bob Dylan, “Maggie’s Farm” 1965

Content farm,” that is…

Google announced, in a blog entry last night:

“Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

“Content farms” are companies that produce large amounts of content that is both inexpensive and optimized for search engines. Often, the quality of their content has been described as “low.” :-)

Although the algorithmic update does not rely on feedback from the users of the Personal Blocklist Chrome extension that was launched last week, Google used the Blocklist data to provide independent validation of results from the change in algorithm:

“However, we did compare the Blocklist data we gathered with the sites identified by our algorithm, and we were very pleased that the preferences our users expressed by using the extension are well represented. If you take the top several dozen or so most-blocked domains from the Chrome extension, then this algorithmic change addresses 84% of them, which is strong independent confirmation of the user benefits.”

The change in the search algorithm has been launched only in the U.S., with a phased roll out planned for other places over time.

Although CNET notes pressure from Bling inching up in market share, I am still going to have to agree with a statement about Google’s search engine early in its history, that Google Search is the only engine that “seems to read my mind.” :-)

-Bill at

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