After Google’s recent Farmer or Panda update, where untold thousands of webmasters, including myself to a lesser degree, perceive themselves as collateral damage in Google’s attempt to police the quality of online content. See my other post on Panda and solutions here.
Admittedly, things were pretty out of control. LOL. The economics of outsourcing content creation, , then monetizing called Content Farming, are, hehe or were, compelling. Freelancers overseas will produce blog posts for $1 or $2, a web page created, with advertising, ranked on the search engines, which earns back the ‘investment’ within days. Multiply by millions and a huge industry prospers. And what fun it was! But all good things come to an end.
Google spanked everyone’s butt with a new rule – if you have one page of poor content, that will drag down the whole site. Whereas previously, low quality content was merely ignored, which created no or a very low incentive to raise the bar. Now, however there is – low quality content is being deleted on a vast scale, in the hopes of raising search engine rank. SearchEngineLand estimates over 1 Billion pages removed since March.
The idea of removing low quality content to reclaim rank is open to differences of opinion, my own experience with sites that have fully recovered from Panda, and the logic that G is applying, gives a clear and obvious incentive to do so. Deleting poor quality content is a good start but that’s not all though.
Manually reviewing close to a thousand blog posts on numerous of my sites, it really does seem G has figured out a very tricky way of detecting good content from bad. Which may not really be so tricky, just applying massive processing power to the information G already has about a website, which is substantial.
At this point, Google knows who 70-75% (my guess) the users are and what they are doing on any given query, and can guess accurately at another 15-25% based on browser/software/system profiles (even if your ip changes and you are not logged in, Google can match all the above metrics to a profile on you)….
Finally, after all that data, the user probably types in a query: (if the search didn’t come from off site).
Also while reviewing and evaluation blog posts, I have pondered the information hierarchy –
Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom.
Or as T.S. Eliot Put it,
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
This speaks to the heart of what G is trying to do, and various economic incentives have really messed things up. Most blogs are just data, divided up into little bits, without enough connecting threads that establishes the context either to the blog and website or to the larger Web. Most often blogs are ‘sensory stimuli.’ Try making your Blog into a book. Simply assembling your blog posts together into a book doesn’t really work- it can be done, but be prepared for a huge amount of editing and writing transitions.
Something falls through the cracks – the part of life that is lost in the living. That is the editing and transitions. Scientifically assembling blogs for search results misses out. It worked splendidly in monetary terms for quite a while, but no more. And, surprise, surprise, some of the high brow advice on blogging, actually turns out to be true! Imagine that!
And indeed – it turns out that blogging requires more than installing Open Source software, downloading keyword lists and hiring freelance writers overseas. Blogging requires a higher order of skills that are more academic and research oriented, like a librarian or University professor.