Sorry bottom feeders, but Google says your time has come. An intense, new algorithmic adjustment arrived the other day and it doesn’t tolerate your kind.  Projected to influence almost 10.5 billion search results every month, this adjustment lowers the rank of scraper sites, link farms, and other useless sites while increasing the rank of quality sites.  What motivated this change? Google’s post,  Finding more high quality sites in search explains,  “Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.”

Quality means increased visibility

If there was ever a justification for content marketing this is it.  From now on, Google rewards websites with “original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis…” with higher search rankings amplifying the strong bond between search, social, and SEO.  Want to boost your brand’s visibility on search? Fill your website and blog with compelling content.  As TopRank’s Lee Odden says, ” If Social Media and SEO fit together like peanut butter and jelly then content is the bread that holds them together.”  Add social engagement from authoritative users into the mix and I predict powerful results.  Google says their algorithm adjustment is just a beginning and they plan to present us with more changes in the future.

They were warned.
The developers and SEO companies whose sites are being penalized for poor quality have known all along what Google considers the high road.  My guess is they ignored Google’s quality guidelines because their black hat strategies were working for them.  Doesn’t look like they’ll work anymore. Take a look at Google’s quality expectations:

Quality guidelines – basic principles

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as “cloaking.”
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
  • Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
  • Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.

Breaking News 2/28/11:

The data is in and the story is huge. According to search engine land, associated content is taking a big hit. Here is a brief look.  Top losers:  ezinearticles.com, associatedcontent.com, suite101.com, hubpages.com and buzzle.com.  Top winners: youtube.com, ebay.com, facebook.com, and instructables.com.   Biggest surprise to me -  slideshare.com and tehnorati.com are on the losers list.  "Number Crunchers: Who Lost in Google's 'Farmer' Algorithm Change" by Danny Sullivan is a MUST READ. Take a moment, review Sullivan's compelling data and share your thoughts here.