Late last month, Google made a major change to its search algorithm. The intention was to improve the rankings for high-quality sites and push down results for lower quality ones. Initial statements from Google said that about 12% of all search queries would be affected, but now, just a few weeks later, hundreds of businesses are up in arms that they are being unfairly targeted.
Google’s goal was to improve the relevance of search results and reduce rankings for sites that simply scrape content from others and pool it together to boost their rankings. These sites, dubbed as “content farms”, use other people’s keyword-loaded content to boost their rankings and draw in visitors, which in turn, drives up their advertising dollars.
What does this mean for your business? There are two main groups affected – those that aggregate or reuse content from other sites and those that rely heavily on article submissions as part of their marketing mix. If you aggregate content from other sites, and don’t supplement this with original content, your search rankings with Google will fall. Likewise if you submit articles to sites like eHow, EzineArticles and Associated Content as a way to boost site referrals, you will likely see a big drop in referral traffic as these sites are seeing significant drops in their own traffic due to Google’s change.