Google changes algorithm – bad for content farms

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Washington DC SEO Expert –

SEO Quotient has always been my little test bed for conducting experiments in search engine optimization (SEO). After all, I would not want to do any experimentation on a client site that could result in inflating my client’s expectations and/or disappointing them if their traffic were to suddenly crash. That’s not good for business in the long-term.

So, in May, Google apparently tweaked their algorithm that caused a lot of the content farms (content aggregators) to lose substantial traffic. I’m talking like a 75% fall off the cliff drop in traffic.

Check out the web stats for SEO Quotient.

Back around Christmas 2010, we had about 600 visits per day, 18k per month.  One of our tools, WebStatsHQ, worked a lot like Alexa and AboutUs.org. It would crawl sites, scrape the home page content, get a snapshot of what that website was about, and re-post that content in an index.

As the months went by, traffic grew at an incredible clip. At one point, just before its peak, we were getting 15,000 unique visits per day and we were approaching 500,000 unique visits per month. Our servers were humming at about 8,000 RPMs – approaching red line several times and we had to pump up the RAM. Then, suddenly, on May 25, 2011, traffic crashed from 14,500 unique visits per day to 2,500 per day.

This goes to show a few very important concepts as it relates to SEO:

  1. Google can shake up their algorithm at any moment and you can easily go from page one to invisible – and there is little to nothing that you can do about it
  2. There is no guarantee that any SEO pro can produce sustainable results – don’t believe any Internet guru who guarantees first page results
  3. Google wants UNIQUE content, valuable content, and continually strives to de-index duplicate content – if your website is in the business of scraping or duplicating content then your results will likely be short term