Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Content Farms Defined

So. What is a content farm? Why does the content in a content farm impact the use of legal information?

There are several definitions of a content farm. Since Google is changing its search algorithm the best place to look might be on the Google Blog. See this post by Matt Cutts dated January 21, 2011 - Google search and search engine spam. Cutts says that content farms "...are sites with shallow or low-quality content." It is probably better to say that the definition of a content farm is evolving. See this article by Allan Graves writing for the Website-Article site dated February 11, 2011 - What Is A Content Farm - A Comprehensive Definition. Graves makes reference to Cutts' post on the Google Blog but adds additional factors for determining when a website can be considered a content farm. His list of factors is reproduced in full:
  • Multiple writers producing large amounts of content
  • Authors are paid and may not be experts on what they are writing
  • Content is written around currently popular/profitable long-tail keyword phrases and optimized heavily for those phrases
  • Content is of low quality and/or shallow (subjective)
  • Content is "spammy" (subjective)
  • Content does not link to authority websites or accurate resources
  • Content can be considered "intra-domain duplicate content" by the newly upgraded search engine document indexer
  • Content is diminutive, without supporting information or resolution
  • Website or section of website contains large and growing number of articles
  • Pages are designed to drive traffic to other monetized web pages or lead forms
  • Content is designed to drive traffic to other monetized web pages or lead forms
  • Content is surrounded by multiple advertisements, lead generation forms, contextual adverts, affiliate links or any other monetization techniques
Search engine optimization is a constant concern for all of the major players - Bing, Yahoo, Google, Chrome, Baidu or whoever. Should any site that fits this definition be sent to the bottom of the search results? Will persistent search engine users find the sites anyway? Is there a place for content farms in general when dispensing legal information?

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