Seems Google went Primal ;-)

Internet marketers and SEO specialists have learned over the last few days a hard lesson: It is not a human right to get your site ranked favorably by Google 😉 The IM community was buzzing since the latest search algorithm update, both with gossip, as well as with interpretations. Here a few voices (links will open in new tab): The Gentle Grizzly from far up north stresses two points: Suspicious link profiles (often obtained via content farms and article directories) and notoriously spammy niches, such as payday loans, weight loss etc that can bring danger to your website.

The less gentle Mark Knowles criticizes the lower quality of the search results AFTER the update with this pungent hub “Help Google is Broken” And he is right, even before the mayhem and uproar on the forums broke loose, I already noticed that Google’s search results have gotten considerably less useful. And what really takes the cookie is that scraper sites and autoblogs have taken the positions left empty by the latest update.

And Allyn from Blogger Illustrated has even some extra tips for Google in his blog post “Hey Google, I found some content farms for you to zap!” pointing out some big names that publish re-hashed, or should I say re-mashed, content.

Lis, from the little island down under that just got shaken up, that does also some good research into the newest search results, and explains at the same time what a content farm is, and what not, also notices that the search results have gotten worse.

So, what is the consensus? To me it seems that the latest algo update has actually worsened the search results and not improved them. And that also EMDs (and exact keywords in URLs) seem to go still strong. By taking out content farms like ezine, hubpages and the like ’empty spaces’ were left that unfortunately are filled in quickly by crappy autoblogs and scraper sites that reside on EMDs.

Still here, great, so before I now add my opinion into the mix, here a few stats that might surprise you:

My 100+ hubs, over several accounts, have seen actually a slight increase in traffic coming from since the update. Go figure! Only one hub has taken a dive into the SERPentines, but this is made up by others having actually risen in big G’s result pages.

My websites, this included, are basically not bothered to move either up or down, traffic is the same (from, that is the only search engine so far that uses the new, updated algo).

Earnings from Adsense? Too early to really tell, but so far so good, all is on track.

And here now my opinion about the why, who and, most importantly, what now:

I look at it from the two other sides, as somebody that does hundreds of internet searches daily and as a, very occasional, advertiser with Adwords.

  • As a searcher I have to agree with Lissie, Allyn and Mark, the results after the update are far worse than the ones before.
  • As an advertiser I want my ads displayed on sites that have the right audience, the ones that take action after having clicked my ad. Actions like buying a product or subscribing to a newsletter or even only reading my site and bookmarking it. I am not interested in low converting social clickers (Try Facebook ads for that 😉 ), I advertise to people that are actually interested in what I have to offer. And here Hubpages fails in my opinion miserably. Not because of their search traffic, but because of their huge social and internal traffic, which leads to a lot of ‘sympathy clicks’ that simply don’t convert for an advertiser. So, from this point of view, taking out big content farms makes sense for Google, not so much for improving the search results for people, but to improve the ad conversation for advertisers!

What Now?

Somewhen, somewhere in one of the many Google help pages, forums, blogs etc I read “Would you create your website also if Adsense wouldn’t exist?” You can amplify this with “Would you create your website also if affiliate programs, direct ad sales etc wouldn’t exist?” For most internet marketers, the answer would be “No Way!”. But think a moment and try to see your website with the eyes of an online publisher that happens to sell adspace in one form or the other, instead of that of an internet marketer that creates websites around profitable keywords and possible ad clicks. Which model do you think is more sustainable long term?

Don’t rely only on search engine traffic. I know, mentioning John Chow, or one of the other A-list bloggers for that matter, is not considered good form in internet marketing circles, but he does have a track record of being slapped badly by Google and maintaining his income by relying on social traffic, regular readers, an email list etc. So, whilst I don’t say that we all should now merely hop on the social media bandwagon, think how you could engage your readers to come back to your blog or website. Or, think about giving them good reasons to come back 😉 In one word, branding 😉

Get your sites ready for a manual review, it might come earlier than you think. There are a lot of speculations around at what point Google thinks that a manual revision of a website is in order, some say it happens when you break $100 / day in Adsense earnings, some say it is earlier. Doesn’t hurt to be prepared 😉 Would your website, layout, navigation and content survive such a manual review or not? Hint: If your website or blog can be considered helpful for human readers in a way that other websites, in the same niche, aren’t, chances are better that you survive. Have a look a the top ten results in Google (as screwed up as they might be at the moment) and ask yourself what you could provide that they don’t have …

As for Hubpages and other so-called ‘content farms’, I will continue to publish hubs, mine are doing just fine, thank you 😉 But if you only rely on web properties like Hubpages and don’t have any websites that you actually own, you might want to diversify a bit! I heard >>>The Keyword Academy<<< is a great place to start learning this AND even will set up your first website, and host it, free of charge. Sign up for a free trial month as long as the offer lasts, as the saying goes 😉

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10 comments to Seems Google went Primal ;-)

  • Nice recap SY and good thoughts to boot.
    For me, the big lesson with all of this is that we marketers need to manage sites that sell our own products/ I moved to that model a long time ago when Vic started screaming about it in his forum.
    I too his screaming to heart and now I rely very little on adsense or affiliate stuff.
    I do better selling my own how-to books and getting some private ads.
    I agree that The Keyword Academy is the best training ground for these things right now as well. Mark and Court stay on top of the “trends” and help members stay on top of them as well.

  • Paul Roberts

    hmmm i may be wrong but didn’t google was primal for a long time??

  • If the Google results had suddenly got dramatically better in terms of quality, I could understand all the upset big G has caused. But at the end of the day, I still see low quality junk nearly every time I use Google for normal daily use. Maybe I’m being naive but I don’t understand why it’s so hard to exclude genuine low quality results, without hurting the good stuff.

  • I have seen the same thing with my hubs, they increased in ranking instead of decreasing, however I have a lot of back links pointing to them.

  • I Also agree that The Keyword Academy is the best training ground for these things right now as well.

  • Shirts

    Seems like this update only really affected big companies, especially the ones who were publicly caught buying links. I think Google had to do something about it because the New York Times and others made such a big deal about it.

  • James Houghton

    Im glad google goes to lenghts to filter out the junk. With so much competition nowadays there is no “easy niches” as even the junk is promoted by content farms. My2c

  • hm,
    I don’t agree with what happened to Ezine articles, as yes they give good backlinks, do-follow backlinks and clicks, but most of all they give good articles (mine included*)
    I think that weakening the backlink-structures is ridiculous. Can you imagine building a skyscraper without proper construction, steel frame and concrete foundation? but Google is a private company… the internet belongs to them, until a better system is created
    thanks for the article

  • Martyna, I certainly agree with you that EzineArticles has a lot of great articles from some really well informed people. But if you dig around, there is also a large percentage of rubbish on there too. You can really tell the articles that have been farmed out to cheap writers who don’t know anything about the subject. So EA have really put themselves in the position where Google had to do something about them. I think the quality articles on EA will still continue do fine though.

  • Great outline of what’s happened with the most recent update, although I’ll say with HubPages I found that the hubs which had a good backlink profile and some age did fine for me and weathered the storm, but the rest bombed. On the other hand, I do write my own high quality content for niche sites and I’ve found those much easier to rank now. And I do completely agree that The Keyword Academy really is the best program out there. I’m not sure where I’d be right now without them. Appreciate the blog – found the recommendation on Allyn’s and I’ll be coming back to check out more posts.