Google Tunes Search Algorithm to Tune Out Content Farms

Like you, Google is fed up with useless sites that consist of little more than keywords to attract visitors to increase ad revenue, but unlike you, Google has the power to do something about it. And so it is. Google's making a bunch of changes to its search algorithm, most of them subtle, but one of them is big and will impact nearly 12 percent of search queries.

"In the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking -- a change that noticeably impacts 11.8 percent of our queries -- and we wanted to let people know what's going on," Google explained in a blog post. "This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites -- sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites, or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites--sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis, and so on."

Unofficially, Google's targeting content farms, like Demand Media, which pumps out thousands of keyword-specific articles a day via eHow and other sites . Demand Media recently went public at a $1.5 billion valuation, making this a particularly interesting move on Google's part.

"Today, Google announced an algorithm change to nearly 12% of their U.S. query results. As might be expected, a content library as diverse as ours saw some content go up and some go down in Google search results. This is consistent with what Google discussed on their blog post. It’s impossible to speculate how these or any changes made by Google impact any online business in the long term – but at this point in time, we haven’t seen a material net impact on our Content & Media business," Larry Fitzgibborn, Demand Media's EVP of Media and Operations, wrote in a blog post.

Google says for now the change only affects U.S. search queries, though it plans to expand over time.