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My Theory on the Google Algo Change/Farmer Update

by PotPieGirl on March 5, 2011 · 185 comments

Perhaps All ‘Content Farms’ are NOT the Same

Ever since this whole Google algo update/Farmer update mess started, I’ve noticed that SOME article directory sites I am familiar with got nailed…and others didn’t. From a basic perspective, they’re all pretty much the same, right? They all put out mass-volumes of user-generated content every day…and make their money from ads ON those web pages. So why didn’t this latest algorithm update with Google cause ALL of these sites to lose rankings and beloved Google traffic? They’re all considered content farms, right? Want to hear MY theory on it and see my research?

Was this algo change REALLY aimed directly at the content farms?

When Google announced this algo update, they didn’t SAY they were targeting content farms. The “Farmer” update name came from inside the SEO world, but not from Google. In fact, Google folks call it the “Big Panda”. Apparently one of the key guys is the one that came up with this breakthrough a few months ago so internally, they nicknamed it after him (his name is Panda).

When Google posted their official announcement about this algo roll-out, they said -

“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.”

I think people immediately assumed it was for Content Farms only since Blekko (a new search engine) announced a ban of some content farms from their site in late January/early February (see info on that here) so I guess folks just thought that is exactly what Google was doing, too.

According to an article on Wired.com, when Google rolled-out Caffeine at the end of 2009 (a Google update of sorts that improved Google’s ability to find and index content very quickly), they found their index was growing VERY quickly…and this latest update is pretty much to thin out the index and get some the “junk” of out of the way (and in attempt to get the “better” content ranking above the “shallow” content).

Google also said in that announcement (emphasis mine):

“…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…”

That statement leads ME to believe that they were targeting certain weak areas. Yes, 11.8% of search queries is a LOT of queries – but it still sounds like a specifically-targeted update to me.

In other words, they are going after certain query spaces – doesn’t it sound that way to you? If it was ME targeting certain query spaces, I’d certainly go after the problem areas…the queries that seem to generate the most “junk” in the Google index.

I’d want to thin out the over-saturated areas, wouldn’t you?

Yes, there is a big reason why I am pointing out that “11.8% of queries” part ;)

What I want to talk about is how some article directory sites started losing massive search engine traffic after this update – and others didn’t (in fact, some are doing BETTER). If “they’re all the same”, then why didn’t this algorithm change treat them all the same?

The sites I want to talk about

I’ve been carefully watching multiple sources for info and insight into this latest Google update, and it’s been quite an experience! I took long looks at lists of sites that others report as the “winners” and the “losers” and then picked some sites that I am quite familiar with and feel my readers are familiar with, too.

Those sites are:

  • EzineArticles.com
  • HubPages.com
  • Squidoo.com
  • eHow.com
  • ArticlesBase.com

  • Here is a quick video I made to give you a visual of what has happened to the search engine traffic for these 5 sites listed above so you can SEE what I am talking about.
    (video is a little choppy at the very start but straightens out – sorry!)

    What in the world could cause eHow to be doing BETTER, Squidoo hanging about the same as pre-update, and the rest bottoming out? Aren’t all these sites very similar? Wouldn’t you think that the algo would pertain to ALL of them?

    Something different about these sites that isn’t so obvious

    I’ve had a sneaky feeling as to what I think could be causing issues for the sites that have had the carpet pulled from under them since this algo update. Now, it’s not very obvious unless you get to poking around. While I have been poking around, I couldn’t think of some really good examples to prove my point.

    Then, on the EzineArticles blog, some “really good examples” were sitting right in front of me…so I ran with it.

    Do y’all remember, back in July 2009 when Squidoo began enforcing some MAJOR rule changes for their site? As of July 2009, they no longer accepted content on certain subject? Remember that? Remember the topics? (here’s their list, in case you’re curious)

    Squidoo decided on their own to stop allowing these topics that they considered “junk” topics that brought a lot of onsite spam with them, too. The Squidoo site was also majorly over-saturated for these topics.

    That time in Squidoo has kept creeping into my mind as I’ve been reading about this latest algo change…and watching my own Squidoo traffic and rankings remain pretty darn stable when other sites (like EzineArticles users and HubPages users) are reporting MAJOR negative changes.

    And then there’s eHow.com… still coasting along and enjoying better traffic.

    What in the WORLD is going on?

    Then I came across this post on the EzineArticles blog and there, right in front of me, was my “test samples” to crunch some numbers for my theory.

    On the EzineArticles blog, they asked members what they should do about content they have that is in over-saturated niches.

    Then, they listed out these 7 keyword phrases/topics:

    1. Penis Enlargement
    2. Get Your Ex Back
    3. Acai Berry
    4. Reverse Cell Phone Lookup
    5. Credit Card Debt Relief
    6. Male Enhancement Pill
    7. TV for PC

    For those of you who lived through the Squidoo policy changes in 2009, do those topics look familiar to you?

    So – I decided to take those exact 7 phrases and see how each site was doing for those topics/keywords.

    It was a very interesting and insightful little test from my perspective.

    How I ran this test

    Now, for the record, this is FAR from an in-depth, highly scientific test, ok? This is me taking some test samples as an example to give us something to think about regarding this algo change and the sites we are familiar with that got hit.

    I want to also point out that each time I run these sample searches in Google, I get something different (gotta love it). Sometimes a BIG difference, sometimes a minor difference….but, in true Google-style to prevent us from knowing TOO much, they’re different – so YOUR searches might be different, too. This is NOT an exact, scientific test – just showing some examples to start the conversation.

    First thing I did was check Google to see how many pages each site had in the Google index. To do this, I simply typed (using hubpages as an example):


    and then wrote down the number.

    According to my searches on Google, each site had the following amount of pages in the Google index:

  • EzineArticles: 21,300,000
  • HubPages: 2,370,000
  • Squidoo – 1,690,000
  • eHow – 39,100,000
  • ArticlesBase – 20,600,000

  • Then, I did the same type of site:hubpages.com search and isolated my results to “last month” – meaning “how many pages did Google index on each of these sites in the last month?”

    The ‘Last Month’ results turned out like this:

  • EzineArticles: 1,380,000
  • HubPages: 524,000
  • Squidoo – 362,000
  • eHow – 1,300,000
  • ArticlesBase – 931,000

  • That’s a LOT of content in a month, isn’t it?

    google search image

    Then, I took each of the 7 phrases that the blog post on EzineArticles listed, put it into quotes and did a search like this (again, using HubPages as an example):

    site:hubpages.com “Reverse Cell Phone Lookup”

    Then, I tallied the number of urls each site had in the complete index, and did a search again for the same phrases, but in the last month.

    By searching this way I was asking Google -

    “How many urls do you have in your index for this site that have this exact phrase on them?”


    “How many urls do you have in your index that you have crawled/found in the last month that have this exact phrase on them?”

    I then jotted down the number for each phrase, added them all up for each site, and got a % of urls indexed number – both for ALL urls in the index for that site…and for urls found/crawled in the last month.

    Ready for the results?

    The Results I Came Up With

    Remember now, these numbers are only representing SEVEN specific keyword phrases – that is IT. Seven keyword phrases is a very low test sample, but the results sure speak volumes.

    Results when searching All URLS from the site in the Google index:

    Holy WOW! 10.38% of the urls Google has for EzineArticles.com have at least ONE of those 7 keyword phrases on them?

    When you think of ALL the topics over at EzineArticles…and all the possible combinations of keyword phrases, these SEVEN PHRASES take up over 10% of their site?

    Over 2 MILLION urls in Google from EzineArticles with just one of these 7 sample phrases on them.


    Even with Squidoo’s policy changes back in 2009, they still show over 2% of urls in the Google index with at least one of those phrases on it.

    To be fair, many of those urls that Google still has are locked lenses (pages Squidoo has taken steps to remove). However, considering how Squidoo WAS looking in the Google search engine for these phrases BEFORE their policy changes, this is a HUGE difference.

    And, when I thought about that, I realized that I should look at all this from a more recent perspective. How many urls found in the last month for each site…and how many had at least one of those 7 phrases on them?

    Results when searching only urls from the site added/crawled in the Last Month

    In the last month, Ezine Articles has had close to 39,000 urls found/crawled in the Google index that have one of these 7 phrases on them. That means that 2.82% of the EzineArticles.com urls Google has found/crawled in the last month have this phrase on them.

    That is almost 39 THOUSAND web pages in the Google index in the past month with one of those 7 phrases on them – from ONE SITE.

    How can that NOT be a problem?

    As you can also see, Squidoo is doing a pretty good job of keeping those topics/phrases OFF their site (nice job, Squidoo!) – eHow is has the lowest over-all.

    Tell me this -

    Could it be a coincidence that eHow is still fine, if not BETTER, with their Google rankings and traffic since this algo update rolled out AND they have a very low-percentage to almost NO pages on site with these three exact phrase on them?

    The Kicker For me

    HubPages was the kicker for me….

    They seemed to be “ok” for their over-all index presence regarding these 7 keywords…and definitely good for the last month… so what’s going on with them? They are having one heck of a time with traffic since this update rolled out.

    Yes, it’s still possible that the threshold for this potential signal would still snag HubPages – and yes, it’s possible that it’s simply a matter of me not choosing the RIGHT phrases to see what HubPages REALLY has on these topics…

    Or – could it be something else?

    Is it the on-page advertisements?

    I really don’t think the ads on their own are an issue and besides, all these sites are monetized so advertisements, like AdSense ads, not an isolating factor that makes one site unique from another.

    What I think DOES come into play is the presentation of these ads and the way the presentation of the on-page ads might cause for an immediate negative perception about that web page by someone coming from a Google search. That immediate negative first impression could easily cause a Google search visitor to leave quickly (ie, cause a high bounce rate). It also affects “time on site” which I feel is a signal that comes into play. Both of these things are metrics that Google kindly keeps up with for us inside our Google Analytics accounts (meaning, they keep track of those things so the theory of them using those metrics as ranking signals is pretty darn realistic).

    When I open an ezine article I am instantly welcomed with lots of ads all around the block of content….and the content just comes across as “words to read” – no images or anything to make it eye-appealing. Granted, that’s just my opinion, but if others feel that way and quickly leave the site, it could have an effect on things, don’t you think?

    I certainly think so.

    With HubPages, I am wondering if their loss after this update might also have to do with all the “no-follow” links that are on the site. Unless you work your tail off and improve your author score to a certain level, all your out-bound links in your Hubs are no-followed. I can imagine that is a LOT of no-follow links going off site.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why they do this and I respect their reasoning.

    BUT – from a search engine’s “perspective”, if a site doesn’t trust the sites it links TO, why should that site be trusted?

    Are they hoarding their Page Rank juice – or don’t trust who they allow their content to link out to? Why in the world would you continuously put content on your site and NOT trust the sites you link to? I don’t think that is something that would HELP rankings….but is it HURTING their rankings?

    I know, I know… Wikipedia does the same thing – but apparently Google doesn’t consider Wikipedia a low-value site – and I don’t think they put Wikipedia and HubPages in the same class at all, do you?

    Outbound links can be pretty important – especially when your content links out to other related content that Google “likes”. The web is built on links… Google trolls the web and finds new content via links. In short, the web IS links, if you think about it.

    Anyway – Those are just my thoughts on something that could be causing HubPages to not fit in as obviously with my “saturated keywords” theory – yet still be losing traffic as a result of this latest Google update.

    Summing Up

    I have a funny feeling that the fall out from this ‘Farmer Update’ is far from over. Up to this point, this algo update has only rolled out in the US. When it hits more areas of the world, it could get even more interesting.

    Sadly, a lot of other sites were casualties of this update…and they are sites that probably shouldn’t have been caught by these new filters. Google will be tweaking as it gets feedback, but I feel safe to say that it might get worse before it gets better.

    What Should EzineArticles Do About This?

    saturated niches blog post image

    EzineArticles has a tough decision to make regarding those 7 topics these listed out on their blog. They are asking for feedback as to WHAT they should do moving forward about those over-saturated niches.

    I envy them not right now – this is a BIG decision for the folks at EzineArticles… it could get pretty messy.

    I am of the opinion that they might want to (pardon the expression) “man up” like Squidoo did as a proactive measure, and get rid of that content the best they can, and do all they can to prevent more from coming on site in the future.

    I KNOW there are people out there that will HATE that opinion of mine. But let me tell you this, I have a good bit of content out there on EzineArticles in one of those niches – and I’d lose content on EzineArticles too. (and no, it’s not a topic about making something….uhhh….bigger, ok? lol!)

    But for the good of the site as a whole, it might be a good choice in the long run. Just my 2 cents on that – and hey, Ezinearticles DID ask what we thought =)

    So – what do y’all think?

    Are you as surprised as I was to see the % of pages each site has with at least one of those 7 keyword phrases on it?

    Do you think this could have anything to do with sites that are losing traffic and rankings – and those that are NOT?

    I spent a lot of hours putting all this together…and I am STILL shocked by it. How in the world can ONE site have 2.8% – or 3.48% of it’s urls in the last MONTH have one of those 7 phrases on it?

    How can that NOT be a problem?

    As an aside regarding a topic we've had the last 2 days….

    If you missed the live webinar, you can watch a replay of the webinar here (no opt in or anything – just click and watch. Might want to give the video a moment or two to load)


    Joan Stewart March 10, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks for an insightful article.

    The future is possibly a mix of quality guest posts and I will continue to use EA since I enjoy the structure they have in place. When they slap you there is normally good reason.

    Google together with all SEO are constantly on the move and changing, checking what is happening is ongoing.

    So logic prevails, good clean business, fresh content and checking your site regularly is imperative.

    Thanks for the time spent putting all this useful information here for us to ponder over.

    Ron's Blog - SEO Web Copywriting | Blogging | Internet Marketing March 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    That was an excellent post, first of all!

    Secondly, here’s what I think about his whole thing.

    Does more articles about a particular topic make it a spam?!

    Is that the criteria on what Google is working? Then I must say, it is very WRONG!

    ‘Cos older the site, more popular the site, more number of pages it contains and that reasons why Ezinearticles might have over 2% content churned out in the last month in those niches.

    This definitely can be a factor, as you listed it out here.

    But then again, it might NOT be. An Acai Berry site is going to have a lot of articles on that particular niche only. So what? It’s spam…ridiculous!

    The post is insightful, but then again it should be requestioned.

    I might make a post on this in the near future. I am just letting the dust settle down.

    Abayomi Aje March 10, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I have been on your list for ages but I am now going to become a regular reader solely because of this article. Good one. One of my site has been affected but that is because I made the “mistake” of using the article on the site on other sites without rewriting it.

    Eternity Diamond Wedding Bands March 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I love this post. You really went out and did MAJOR research on this topic and it really pays off. It’s interesting that ezinearticles.com got the raw end to this update. The problem here is the amount of spam it contains and that what makes it affected by the “farmers” update.

    Anna March 10, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    You suggest that the fact that Hubpages no-follow all links may affect their ranking negatively.

    As I understand it, do-follow links to a great diversity of websites can affect a website’s ranking negatively. The reason is that the search engine ‘concludes’ that the website is linking uncritically to other websites, and that can awake suspicion about link exchange or content farming.

    Tony March 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I think there’s an overlooked oversaturated niche….the niche on “How to make money on the internet” ;-)

    Ryan B. March 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    This is too bad, I’ve used ezinearticles many times in the past and with good results. Now it looks like I have to find another good site.

    Marcelo March 11, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Hello Jennifer!

    I’ve noticed on sites like Squidoo and others, that link start as no follow, but if you are a good little boy, some may well become do follow in time.

    Thx 4 the report!
    very clever

    Anna March 11, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    @ Ryan B: or maybe you can just bookmark it.

    Download Profit Jackpot Software March 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Any change in the google algo will never effect the blog with regular and unique content also with more visiting time like for more than 10 sec.

    Elisabeth Kuhn March 12, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    That’s a VERY useful post, Jennifer. And actually kind of reassuring too. Thanks so much for putting in all the work. I sure appreciate it!

    The way I read this is that if I’m not messing with the blacklisted topics, I might be okay. And from what I can tell, my EZA articles are pretty much where they were before.

    Also, it seems that EZA articles have been scoring lower for a while now — I found that goarticles and articlesbase versions of the articles (usually slightly rewritten) score way better than EZA. Maybe this farmer thing has been going on for a while before news of it leaked out…

    Thanks again!


    Electrical Columbia March 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Yes, there were a lot of casualties from this latest Google update, but I also don’t think that Google has finished their updating and I think there will be more casualties in the near future. So far, the rankings on my Ezine articles have not suffered that much and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    bicyclegourmet March 14, 2011 at 9:38 am

    PPG – your perceptive anaylsis of the “farmer/panda”
    update(actually i would have gone with “panda farmer”)
    is(to quote paul simon’s song): “born at the right time.”

    actually what is needed now – to get people thinking about the disparities you so lucidly point out between
    the google approved and the google spanked.

    p.s. good luck with your ezine articles content!

    American Flags March 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Wow, what a great article potpie Girl. This is a great example of quality content. It’s unique, shows thought and research, brings new light to a subject. I linked to this article because it’s the best response I’ve seen to the “farmer” update. Ezinearticles better “Man Up”

    Vincent Malatrait March 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    That’s a crazy good analysis, and I can’t believe you have time to do this with all the other stuff that you do and are involved in online.

    I am trying to concentrate on mobile marketing and the mobile web, and wonder if this update affects mobile web advertising.

    It really is hard to get a handle on it.

    Marcel White March 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Jennifer,
    Congratulations for this splendid piece of work. Thanks also to San Coils who wrote an article that showed me the way to your site.
    Now I am positively angry with EzineArticles. I have some articles there: original and innovative content, serious subjects, more than 700 words. And it’s always difficult to get my articles approved. Why? Because I want to add pictures or images to help readers understand what I explain. Or because I tried to offer a free ebook with more articles that complement those I submitted. And I accepted all that because I believed that it was a sign of good quality content. Now, thanks to you, I learned that at least 10% of their articles are about dubious subjects. What a frustration! I wish I have a “patience enlarger”.
    Marcel White

    George March 14, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I have to say that I have been experiencing an increase in traffic across all of my sites and articles. Maybe I was lucky enough to pick the right ones when I was testing out sites, but this new algorithm change is OK with me.

    Child Care Columbia March 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Good report!

    Google has spanked Ezine, but I wonder if that effects how Google evaluates the links created on the Ezine articles. I really haven’t seen any of my websites drop in their rankings.

    Genevieve March 16, 2011 at 3:23 am

    Boy am I late!
    Ah well, better late than never.

    Google’s stirred things up again. I’m in agreement with Wayne that ultimately money is their end result, but they pretend it’s for the customer experience. Back when there was buzz about Google Instant, Google claims it’s to save users time in writing, to find what they need faster. (Sorry, but I wasn’t aware this was a race.) But in reality, everyone knows they’re targeting keywords with higher search volume so they get more cost per click.

    The solution for me–for everyone–is to not put all your traffic eggs in one basket, even the Google Egg Basket. When rankings waver with the next new latest and greatest change, at least you’re not scrambling for your footing.

    I agree with and believe in the idea, for I too notice a lot of rehashed spam sites, but if only money were not their major motive . . .

    On another note, I’m curious as to what will happen to places I know you use like Seo Link Vine for backlinks and content. In the five-step article strategy, you emphasize using one article. Won’t the hundreds of rewritten versions linking to your site cause it to lose value?

    Jacques Groenen March 16, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    I like this kind of analysis and content, especially because I get daily a lot of spam emails from so callad gurus who have nothing else to say as “this guy made xyz dollars with the next cheat & spam method. Internet as an automated garbage can, In Germany a secretary of defense recently had to give up his job because he cheated a university degree by plagiarism. Internet is full of cheaters who automate cheating and call/called(?) this Internet Marketing, mainly.a tsunami of garbage and get rich quick copy and paste foam. I don’t like big brother Google, but mountains of nonsensical garbage is even worse. Let’s wait and see where we are in 1 year.

    Phil March 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Great analysis, numbers can be such fun! I’ve been wondering whether ‘average time on page’ might be soemthing they start to play with too – related to your comment about ad clutter. But, say there were two pages with no ads, then the one with higher avg time on page could be seen as having higher value to the reader (summed over lareg numbers). Sure, they could be frigged, but not easily where there is high visitor traffic anyway.

    Keep it up!


    Evelyn March 18, 2011 at 5:45 am

    It all makes perfect sense now – except, I’m sure there are more than 7 topics in question. I’m keeping an eye on a few of my keywords that used to be on the 1st page of google for the EZine article and right now, they come and go. It’s apparent that Google has not yet decided on their final update. I’m sure they’ll tweak until we all go Postal!

    Rick C. March 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Interesting numbers and analysis. I’m really surprised after all the good things that I’ve heard about Ezine articles. I bet this latest shake-up from Google really shook their higher staff up. And, from what I see in your numbers, it should have.

    Hazuwan Hamdan March 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Million thanks Jennifer.
    Now I think I understand what’s going on.
    Your blog definitely will be one of my best resource to learn a lot of internet stuff.

    Again thanks….

    Marcel White March 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Here you have my testimonial.
    GOOGLE SERPs quality didn’t improve with the new algo. Links from content farms almost disappeared but were displaced by links I’d rather prefer not to have. Instead of links from classic top article directories I found that the first position was for a link from a PR=0 site that copied and destroyed my articles and made them impossible to understand. I believe they were auto-translated from English to Chinese mandarin, then to Brazilian and back again to English (or so). Controlling content farms is a good idea but there is still a lot to do. No one wants to replace a bad solution that works with a good solution that doesn’t work.
    Marcel White

    John Walker March 20, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Great analysis Jennifer!

    I work with the oldest coupon website and it was wiped off the map for “coupon” search. We used to be in the top 3 and now we don’t even come up! Your analysis gave me some inspiration and seemed spot on with what we believe is happening. Our top 2 competitors were not effected while we and several others were destroyed.

    I really believe you are onto something. Would you be willing to analyze our site against our competitors in a similar fashion and to consult with us? I sent this analysis to our CEO and he immediately asked me to hire you to consult with us.

    Thanks again,


    John Walker March 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Great analysis Jennifer!

    I work with the oldest coupon website and it was wiped off the map for “coupon” search. We used to be in the top 3 and now we don’t even come up! Your analysis gave me some inspiration and seemed spot on with what we believe is happening. Our top 2 competitors were not affected while we and several others were destroyed.

    I really believe you are onto something. Would you be willing to analyze our site against our competitors in a similar fashion and to consult with us? I sent this analysis to our CEO and he immediately asked me to hire you to consult with us.

    Thanks again,


    Åke L. March 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    A very interesting read Jennifer!

    We’ve all heard a lot of talk about the algo update targeting content farms especially, but as you say, this seems to be pure invention.

    When you think about it, content farms per se shouldn’t be a problem, only the large quantity of lousy content in them.

    I believe Google is moving in the right direction with this update, although I find it a bit worrisome that the big G has such an enormous power over the internet. Unfortunately, with so many sites relying on organic traffic and the other search engines being so far behind, I don’t see the trend changing anytime soon.

    Tony March 24, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Hi Jennifer,

    That is an amazing post. I was targeting one of those niches too, mine had nothing to do with enlarging anything either :) It is true though the rubbish has to be cleared away. It is a lesson to me to steer clear of over-saturated potentially spammy subjects in future.

    There is so much to go after it shouldn’t be that hard.

    Thanks for all the great info. Tony

    Auto Repair March 24, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Great post, Jennifer. I can certainly understand why Google is making changes to get rid of all of the “fluff” and EzineArticles and the others should pay the price.

    In your table, I found another bit of data that I found interesting, also. For the search term “pc for tv”, EzineArticles showed 12,100 sites using that phrase and ArticlesBase showed 142,000. Now, for using that phrase in the URL, EzineArticles showed only 6 while ArticlesBase showed 10,000. Why is that term being used so much on ArticlesBase and not the other sites? Doesn’t figure.

    Well, I found this bit of info interesting,too!


    Lovina March 24, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Jenni,

    this is the first article I’ve read about the Google change that shows some analysis rather than personal opinion or experience. Cool!

    What is surprising is the results of your investigation work, it really all makes sense, like nothing else I read did. Thanks so much, I think I’ll be giving article writing and submission a break for a while.

    I’m not sure Google can avoiding indexing spam content by this measure alone, and hitting the whole article directory is really kind of hard on the good stuff too. If the issue is about just gaining links through articles, won’t SEO just look to links elsewhere?

    Love your blog, thanks so much!


    GreenEyes March 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I have an issue with the “no-follow” links theory. I can see how people might use them to hoard link juice, but if you have paying advertisers, you are told that Google wishes you to add “no-follow” to identify them. Are you being penalized because you are identifying the paying advertisers, even if such paying advertisers are part of directories which people regularly visit and where advertisers which to have a strong presence? I am confused. Which rule should we follow to not be penalized (not that I expect an answer). This may be just one of the factors, as I cannot make heads or tails as to why our great content is being penalized (our article pages have no ads).

    Fisayo @ Secrets of Entrepreneurship March 28, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Great informative post Jen. Thanks for the analysis

    Adam March 30, 2011 at 10:42 am

    just wanted to say you have impressed me with all those insights. keep it up.

    Thomas March 30, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    AWESOME post Pot Pie Girl. By far the best I have read about the Farmer Update.

    And the Algo update only helps my websites out as I am not a part of any of those 7 SPAMMY niches.

    There is way too much clutter out there and Im sure Google is wasting massive amounts of time and resources (money) crawling that junk.

    It would be wise for those sites and even Press Release sites and directories to drop the junk.

    I mean I have never bought penis pills or Acai Drinks. Have you?

    My final comment is about hubpages. I hope they take a hit because it upsets me to add good content only to see my links turn to nofollow.

    Susanna, The Small Ebiz Coach April 3, 2011 at 2:44 am

    OMG. I totally loved this article! I was actually thinking of trying to figure this out and am SO happy because now I don’t have to. YAY!

    Sarah Drinkwater April 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I sometimes use these farm sites for backlinks, in fact I have some websites that are almost exclusively supported form these type of sites and I haven’t seen any negative effects on their search ranking – so maybe google’s updates only really effect the content farms and not the sites that they link out to.

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