Yesterday Google announced that it had launched a new Chrome extension which it claimed would “block low-quality sites from appearing in Google’s web search results”.
We’ve been exploring different algorithms to detect content farms, which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. One of the signals we’re exploring is explicit feedback from users. To that end, today we’re launching an early, experimental Chrome extension so people can block sites from their web search results. If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results.
Read more here on the Google Chrome blog…
A couple of weeks ago the AWL published a slightly less-than-enthusiastic account of the joys of working for a ‘content farm’ by Jessanne Collins, who calculated her work was making her about £4.40 an hour.
Undoubtedly, content farms need to be ‘gamed’ a little bit to get anywhere, which perhaps Collins’ own issues, “motivational in nature”, got in the way of. One person who has done OK out of the content farm lark is Jodi Jill:
When Jodi Jill was laid off from her position as an assistant at a car dealership two years ago, she took a number of odd jobs to pay the bills, from hawking oranges off the Venice exit on the 405 freeway in Southern California to fixing sequins onto costume dresses. She also wrote the occasional article for Examiner, the crowdsourced content play backed by billionaire investor Philip Anschutz.
Fast forward two years and Ms Jill, who was briefly homeless after being laid off, says she’s made just under $100,000 in the past year by writing exclusively for Examiner … So what does it take to make $100,000 a year writing for a content farm?
Full story on E&P at this link…
Online media company GoAdv has announced it plans to rebrand itself as a European content farm called Populis as part of its attempt to compete with US content farms in Europe, according to paidContent:UK.
The company is reportedly “uniting its content production engine to a Demand Studios-style platform called Populis Create”. This will then send out articles through its brands’ sites which include Excite, Nanopublishing and Italian blog network Blogosfere.
Speaking to co-founder Luca Ascani, paidContent:UK reports that content farms have to adjust their methods within the European market.
Ascani says many tools to identify search trends – which articles are written to satisfy – do not account for searches done in European languages. That, he says, means the idea of creating a single how-to super-site like Demand’s eHow guide is less likely to succeed there; so GoAdv has created a network of 500 niche sites for individual topics, right down to swimming pools in France.
The ability of search engine algorithms to measure the relevance and quality of content has come under scrutiny recently, following criticisms that Google is placing so called ‘content farm’ articles at the top of news searches.
Emma Heald writes on the EditorsWebLog that where SEO content directly competes with news content there is “cause for concern”, both for news publishers and the wider issue of public knowledge.
But the challenge of ensuring online news search results are based on relevant and ‘quality’ sources should be one taken up by the news aggregators, rather than content farms, which have a place in the online arena, she adds.
Evidently, content farms cannot and should not be stopped from producing large volumes of content and it arguably makes a lot of sense to provide internet users with articles on topics which they are searching for. And not all the content is bad: some is written by experienced, conscientious journalists. Traditional news organisations should focus on improving their own SEO (though not at the expense of the content) and if it is to retain its position as a top news aggregator, maybe Google’s algorithm should become more discerning?
Poynter.org introduces the latest resource for editors short on news – iNeedaGreatStory.com, claiming it offers “well-reported, well-told, well-illustrated content”.
The site sells stories, infographics and videos which claim to be “100-percent original”, pitching themselves as providing value journalism as opposed to a “content mill”.
In a world flooded with “free” stories optimized to fit marketers’ commercial agendas, it’s difficult for editors to find content they can rely on. But with iNeedaGreatStory.com, editors now have access to a searchable database of thousands of reliable, high-quality stories, infographics and videos. Simply put, iNeedaGreatStory.com makes life easier for editors everywhere – editors at newspapers and websites, editors of company newsletters, editors who don’t even know they’re editors but are charged with finding content for a specific purpose. That’s value they can’t get from a content mill.
The stories are written by an editorial team from Content That Works.
See the full post here…