Due to recent Google updates the answer to this question is fundamental: your current and future search engine ranking may be at risk. In its constant battle against the spammers and the black hats Google has updated yet another one of its algorithms. In this particular case an algorithm has been updated in order to make a tough stand against the ‘content farms’ of the world wide web. I am sure that if this world of content farms is new to you, like me, you are asking yourself what they are and what they do.
Those who run purpose-built content farms use them as a money-making technique (with black-hat tactics.) They run websites overloaded with low quality content so that they can make money from the vast amount of adverts displayed on the website. The content is highly optimised for the search engines and so is falsely considered to have better information than the more legitimate websites that are not being run by black-hats.
However – because Google has made such a tough stand against these content farmers, other websites that do not mean to be perceived as content farms are being so and therefore penalised. Consequently what do you need to do so that Google does not view your website as a content farm?
Ensure that your website is not too heavily keyword optimised
As an SEO I am not telling you not to optimise your website with the specific keywords but do not over-use them as Google will notice (it always does) and will believe that you are cheating. High keyword density text also gets boring to read – obvious word repetition makes the text seem very unprofessional and doctored.
Be specific and focused
Content farms provide information on pretty much everything you can think of. They do not offer anything specific but try and cover a range of topics (which for quality purposes is just not achievable.) Make sure that your website focuses specifically on something and try not to generalise; setting out lists containing relevant information is a good way in which to organise your information.
Have a good reading level
As has already been discussed, purposefully built content farms do not write articles to advise the web user but to attract the search engines in order to generate revenue from the adverts associated with the displayed text. Therefore these articles will be of extremely low quality without sufficient content or explanation. Try and target all audiences with the information that you write; offer some detail for the experts but also try to set out your information in a way that is easily processed by the newbies.
So unbeknownst to yourself have you been a content farmer? If after reading this information you think that some or many aspects of your website relate to those of a content farm, have a look over and try and adapt it to the points mentioned. It will aid your overall search engine performance and will help you avoid those nasty Google penalties.