Google was in the news this week for making significant adjustments to its search algorithm. Their move was an apparent response to all the outcry about high rankings for low quality content, which in turn has been driven by the growth of content farms and other attempts by many to game the search system.
I think this is a great move and should result in changes that benefit those who work in PR and social media, among others. I work hard to generate original content that I hope will be interesting to others, and is not driven by what people are searching for at any given moment. So do the people I work with and our clients.
The growth of content syndication sites and content farms has led to a lot of noise and garbage that just gets in the way of things on the Web. Sure, there is some good content on these sites. But as anyone who tries to monitor topics and brands and wade through never-ending streams of Google alerts quickly realizes, there is a ton of redundancy and garbage. Even when you do find good articles, the syndication sites make it hard to understand the original source and date of the information.
The Wall Street Journal had a couple of stories this week on the topic. Google Reorders Web Winners discussed likely winners and losers, and included the following quote from a Google spokesperson:
… "people generating original content and maintaining high-quality websites" benefit Google.
Another article in the Journal introduced the term "article vomit," which, amazingly, was coined by someone from one of the offending sites, who also pointed to changes that are forthcoming:
He added that authors will now be required to write a minimum of 400 words an article, up from 250 words, along with many other changes to improve quality.
Clearly, given Google's influence, the changes will hopefully encourage longer and higher quality articles (and perhaps even stem an apparent decline in blogging, a topic that I wrote about in Builldog Reporter this week).