Whoa, Google’s Farmer Update Helped eHow?


farmvilleADOTAS – You could hear scoffs across the tech mediascape as Demand Media EVP of Media and Operations Larry Fitzgibbon said that Google’s latest algorithm update — which promised to rid the search valley of the abhorred content farms, though this edict was unspoken — hadn’t had a “material net impact on our Content & Media business.

But initial examinations suggest Demand may have had the last laugh as Google’s “farmer” update seemingly boosted the results of Demand’s infamous eHow property.

SEO consultant Sistrix analyzed a data set of 1 million keywords checked before and after the update to discover that the number of keywords eHow.com is ranked for increased from 317,320 to 324,021 — a slight hike, but a hike nonetheless. In addition, the Sistrix Visibility Index — which is calculated using traffic on keywords, ranking and click-through rate on specific positions — measured a jump from 270 to 310.

The chart below shows that more eHow urls appeared in the first few pages of Google results after the algo update:

eHow.com Search Results Page Breakdown

Now compare that to the Farmer update’s effect on mahalo.com, web directory/human search engine that also offers how-to guides:

Mahalo.com Search Results Page Breakdown

Mahalo ranked keywords dropped by more than 70%, from 33,875 to 9,740, making it the fourteenth most affected domain by Sistrix’ rankings.

However, other Demand sites took a hit, including answerbag.com (from 67,314 keywords to 26,054) and trails.com (38,346 to 8,511), both of which were under Sistrix’ 25 biggest losers tent. At the top of that list were wisegeek.com, ezinearticles and suite101.com; no. 6 was associatedcontent.com, Yahoo’s content farm, which had ranked keywords fall from 216,429 to 53,512.

Also, Read Write Web notes that Technorati, PR Newswire, Songkick and Slideshare were all smacked a bit by the algo update — none of those would be mistaken for content farms.


  1. This last update has had a massive impact on many smaller publishers. Just look at webmasterworld and you see how many small businesses took a 30-50% hit in Google traffic. The recent post on the Google blog seem to indicate that they are trying to lower positions for “low-quality-sites”. I wonder how this will affect Google’s bottom line as they basically killed off 50% of the traffic for many smaller publishers who produce their own content. Many publishers of good content has been hit hard during this last update, more so than any other update in the past. Google would never admit that they did anything wrong but all publishers can only hope they are still trying to tweak algos and FIX this darn thing.

  2. For as many years as there has been google, The Auto Channel reviews interface page http://www.theautochannel.com/vehicles/new/reviews/
    which leads viewers to thousands of original and exclusive car and truck reviews had been listed in the top 1 -5 response positions when any combination of car reviews, new car reviews, 2011 car reviews, new car reviews, etc. was searched…since the new improved google search many of these search terms result in The Auto Channel Reviews page showing up on the 40th page or not at all… although in fairness (at least we are trying to be fair) some of the terms like 2011 car reviews are moving back onto the second page…our overall traffic and adsense revenue has dropped 30-50% since the improvement…

    The biggest frustration is that google is now listing the sites that have stolen our articles above us on their search results… how can this be helping anyone other than the crooks?

    And by the way The Auto Channel with 1 million pages of automotive news and information was designed to be the main library branch for automotive info, hmmm,and I always thought that a main library branch was a content farm… is that bad?


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