My 4/03/11 Missoulian column
Last week, I covered some of the recent tweaks Google made to their search algorithm and the fact that many website owners and companies are not happy with the fact that their websites now rank lower in search results.
Google is constantly tweaking its search algorithm in order to improve search results for its users and to fight companies that want to “game” Google and rank higher than the search engine deems fair.
There’s an interesting article in the New York Times about how JC Penney’s online shopping website once ranked very high for all kinds of product searches, and as a result did very well over the past holiday season. But the article also describes how JC Penney’s tricks were discovered and made mostly moot by Google’s recent changes.
JC Penney created thousands of links pointing to their website. The number of legitimate links to a website figures in Google’s calculation of rank of the website. But JC Penney hired a company and paid to get thousands of links back to their site, and for a while, they got away with it.
But once Google made changes to disallow those tricks, JC Penney’s site sunk like a rock in search results. Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13search.html
Another change Google made was to rank “content farms” lower than sites with original content. Content farms are websites that either “scrape” content from other sites or hire writers to compose hundreds of thousands of articles (for pennies per hundred words) that are simply written to get a high rank from search engines that look at the number of keywords in the article, not the quality of the information.
A content farm’s goal is to draw readers to the sites from searches for those keywords, and those visits end up as ad revenue. Good examples of content farms are sites such as eHow.com, which sports articles on how to tie your shoes, make friends and set your alarm clock.
But now many content farms – some worth millions of dollars from the ad revenue they bring in – have also fallen sharply in Google rank.
After I read that New York Times article and others on Google’s algorithm change, I started checking on the rank of my own website. And over the past few months, my own websites’ page rank has jumped much higher. It’s good to know my site is no content farm.
This week in Mac Q & A: Burning Dual Layer DVDs