Whoa, Google’s Farmer Update Helped eHow?

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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.