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Google Farmer Update - How This Affects Your Website Rankings
Businesses love and fear Google, and for good reason. They can make or destroy your online presence. Major websites are seeing huge drops in traffic (as a result of a drop in their rankings on Google) after the Google Farmer update, also known as Google Panda Update, released in the US in early March 2011.

The update was a much needed change in the Google algorithm to keep low valued content farms or portal sites from making their way into the top of the search results. These websites produce content on every and any topic that people will search for and provide really low valued information. Most people ignore these sites or once they visit them immediately realize that there is nothing informative whatsoever on the page. In an effort to keep these sites from ranking, this new change may also keep your own website from ranking well.  So how does this affect the average business owner's website?

1. Duplicate content will make you rank much lower than before
Google never seemed to like duplicate content before, but now they hate it. They simply wouldn't index pages on your site (those pages would not show in search results) that had content similar to other sites. Now, Google seems to be penalizing sites with duplicate content. This can be harmful for websites in which other people have copied and pasted content from. Google doesn't know where the original content came from and it's difficult to keep other people from stealing your content. The important thing to note is that all of your website content should be 100% unique. Nothing should be copied from other websites and every page should have different content topics, pictures and headlines.

2. Content must be valuable and informative
Google does not want to see a few paragraphs with closely related information as your other website pages. This has worked in the past but once enough content farm sites caught on Google had to make a change. There best way to create SE targeted pages on your website is to create genuinely informative articles that other people can use as resources, will want to bookmark, or share across social media sites. There are no more shortcuts with Google.

3. Blog and News feeds seem to be ranking better than landing pages

As stated above, creating good content in the Alternate Image News application or Blog application seems to be indexed better than just landing pages alone. When your new stories or blog posts are created, it automatically submits to your RSS feed. We've seen our blog posts get indexed by Google within a few days of posting! I don't think that Google is ignoring landing page content, however they seem to be paying more attention to blog posts and news stories.

Whether your goal is to be at the top of the search engine results or to simply be visible when someone is searching for your company online, the Google farmer update will affect a lot of websites - big and small. The key is creating good content with interesting facts and information that people will want to read and share. If other people like it, then Google will too.

You may also enjoy reading:
Google's Farmer Update: Analysis of Winners vs. Losers
Train Wreck at eZine Articles
Google Panda Update: Lack of Consistency on Quality?

Has your website been affected by the Google farmer update?
 Post your comment below and tell us all about it.

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