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Google Farming Update: Quest for Quality

During this week, Google announced a significant algorithm-update which aims to increase quality in Google’s search results. Domains containing low-quality content are supposed to be found less often, high-quality pages are to achieve better rankings. At the moment this update is active in the US-Index, more countries are about to follow.

Quickly named an “Anti-Demand-Media”-Update, I couldn’t find any real data proving this claim. I’d like to change this with this posting: Based on a dataset of one million keywords, which were checked before the update and yesterday I can determine the biggest loser of this algorithm-change. The SISTRIX VisibilityIndex is an index value calculated from traffic on keywords, ranking and click-through rate on specific positions. Let’s start with a list of the 25 biggest losers:

# Domain Change SISTRIX (before) SISTRIX (after) # KWs (before) # KWs (after)
1 -77% 121,58 28,22 74.024 21.940
2 -90% 65,08 6,65 184.508 54.277
3 -94% 54,04 3,28 178.373 36.904
4 -87% 55,16 7,40 152.998 50.178
5 -85% 43,25 6,55 86.472 24.423
6 -93% 38,29 2,57 216.429 53.512
7 -90% 30,26 3,01 42.486 7.992
8 -91% 25,73 2,32 27.501 7.459
9 -80% 28,78 5,83 62.034 36.167
10 -91% 24,88 2,18 26.000 9.799
11 -83% 25,75 4,28 49.544 17.833
12 -94% 19,96 1,16 82.274 31.365
13 -84% 21,20 3,39 33.222 7.601
14 -84% 20,49 3,23 33.875 9.740
15 -93% 17,24 1,13 21.556 4.813
16 -77% 20,89 4,90 23.256 6.870
17 -85% 18,43 2,67 93.347 34.681
18 -83% 18,95 3,27 74.506 45.495
19 -90% 16,98 1,74 64.810 20.189
20 -91% 16,52 1,46 33.648 11.142
21 -89% 16,83 1,79 37.364 16.268
22 -91% 12,93 1,11 67.314 26.054
23 -87% 12,05 1,62 38.346 8.511
24 -79% 10,54 2,19 70.781 31.272
25 -88% 8,86 1,08 16.457 6.034

The table shows the domain, percentage loss, SISTRIX before and after the update as well as the number of keywords found from the one million dataset for this domain before and after the algorithm-change. It is sorted by the biggest absolut loss in SISTRIX VisibilityIndex. Comparing these results with the announcement from Google, they seem to have reached their goal: a whole lot of low-quality domains lost significant visibility in the US Google-SERPs.

Let’s see in detail what Google did to the affected domains. The first conclusion is quite straightforward: the number of keywords these domains are ranking for dropped dramatically. Looking at as an example, it went from 33,875 keywords before the update to just 9,740 keywords after the update went public – a decrease of more than 70%. These were keywords like “zealand air“ (3), “digg“ (8) or “tax check“ (4) where the domain fell out of the top 100 results. The second outcome deals with the remaining keywords. Here is a chart on which Google result page the keywords of were to be found before and after the algorithm-update:
It’s eye-catching that did not only lose more than 70% of their keywords – the remaining keywords are also ranking much worse than before. More than two third of all keywords for this domain could be found on result page 8, 9 and 10. That’s the reason the SISTRIX value fell even more than the raw count of found keywords.

And how about Demand Media? Well, there is no sign that Google tried to downrank even gained SISTRIX value (from 270 to 310) and Keywords (from 317,320 to 324,021) during the algorithm-change. Looking at the SERP-Distribution chart from above for, you’ll notice the difference. Quite a statement from Google regarding the quality of Demand Medias’ content, isn’t it? If you are interested in a full list of 100 Domains suffering from this update, please drop me a short notice.


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Pace Lattin

Pace Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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  1. Thanks for the advice. Do you know off hand any article submission sites that are in the good graces of Google?

  2. Hmmm interesting article. I've decided to not take much notice of Google and their algorithms as it can be a distraction to me but on the other hand, I do wonder how they calculate a sites uselful content etc

  3. Sucks for all of those Article sites.. but i guess it's for the better. This data shows a lot of change.. but has anyone seen some real quality improvements for any queries?

  4. Great Post! I haven't seen much data from what Google is doing, but this article. Still make me wonder if they are depending on Alexa for much of the data still? Yep!

        1. Wikipedia is not always good or even correct. Remember the shady marketers game Everything with their black hat methods. There is a product out right now to game Wikipedia, not evil, but to get traffic, links etc.

          1. There was a study that showed that Wikipedia is as accurate as most encyclopedias…

  5. This is a massive and positive step in the right direction for me. The majority of these sites add little or no value to the web user experience.

    1. I could not agree more with you. This is a great shape-up for a sagging internet.
      The obvious response will be for the article sites to clean their databases and require, require, require 100% original content.

      I like it personally.

  6. Hello and thanks for sharing that. It is useful to a degree but I don't understand why everyone is focusing on the biggest losers of this update.

    Seems to me like it would make far more sense to focus on the biggest winners.

    Any idea if there is a list showing the 25 biggest winners from this latest update?


    1. The reason why there is so much focus on the upset is because there are a lot of businesses online that depend on, for example, the article sites to get rankings for their own sites… This is affecting eCommerce in a negative way, and businesses have already seen a dramatic decrease in sales.

  7. Its because many people use article marketing as a method to promote programs. With articles sites losing their traffic, there is a serious issue!

  8. When I am searching for new niches and doing research even the low volume keywords mostly high PR domains show up in the search results. Very rarely you get domains with the matching keywords or sites with PR 0 or PR 1. Does this mean new sites dont stand a chance now?

  9. With the increase in 'content farms' over the last few years this type of rattle has been on the cards for some time. It will only prove to seperate worthy sources of info from those with no real value to its audience.

  10. Almost every one of my sites got hit by this. I have 100% unique content. Now I see a lot of really badly designed, no SEO whatsoever sites sitting in top spots I had. As far as I'm concerned, Google went to shit. Not just because I got hit, but I have seen a huge unleashing of spam since the panda update. Rest in piss Google. I have already moved on to Bing as my search provider.

What's your opinion?

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