Archive for March, 2011

Don’t worry about your rutabagas, your garden is safe. That isn’t the type of farmer I’m talking about. The ones that are in trouble with Google are “content farms” that flood the Internet with a never ending stream of low quality content.

Why? Well one of the major components of search engine optimization is content. So like everything else in the SEO industry the “black hat” optimizers immediately started flooding the internet with hastily produced, keyword laden, recycled content in an effort to drive up the page count for their clients.

Did it work? Well sort of….  The techniques for writing search engine friendly copy are the same whether the copy is redundant and valueless to the human reader, or if it provides insight and original thought or news or any number of virtues to people seeking information.

Unfortunately this prompted the rise of the “content farming” industry. Companies and individuals who “scraped” content from other websites, rearranged it a little and spit it out as though it was new. If done cleverly the search engines would treat it as original content and reward the website with higher search rankings.

Google counters Bad SEO tactics

Google actually makes hundreds of changes to its search results ranking algorithm each year in an effort to stay a step ahead of black-hat optimizers who use dubious tactics in an effort to “game” the system rather than produce useful content. We knew this change was coming… we just didn’t know when.

Google’s’ “Farmer” algorithm went into effect towards the end of February and affected some 11.8 percent of Google search queries in the United States. The update was presumably aimed at content farms that produce low-quality or recycled content for the purpose of achieving higher search results.

Caught in the fallout?

Certainly anyone who employed an optimizer who relied on dubious shortcuts took a hit. Unfortunately that includes legitimate well intentioned business people who were simply trying to market their services on the Internet like everyone else. They trusted SEO companies that relied on dubious tactics, or off-shore optimizers with a poor command of the English language who simple scraped and assembled content for other websites.

It will probably also affect distributers of products that rely on manufacturers descriptions to advertise the products in their catalogues and in their shopping carts. In many cases there are hundreds of the same descriptions across hundreds of different websites. Google is not going to rank them all for the same thing. Did they do anything wrong? No, but now they are going to have to do it right.

There are no short cuts. There never have been…

Gamming the system has never worked for any length of time. Trying to circumvent Google’s algorithm is short sited and ultimately builds your web presence on a house of cards that collapses the moment Google makes a change.

There are certain things that work, and will always work. A Professional Digital Marketing Firm knows that Google is happy to reward optimizers that play by the rules and consider that the end game is to serve up the most accurate, meaningful and varied results to the person searching for information.

What’s the upside?

Well if you are just a person searching for something on Google, your chances of finding good quality results just increased. If you are a business who employed a skilled “white hat” Search Engine Optimization Company then a lot of the noise on the Internet just cleared out of your way to the top of the results.

And by the way, good quality content is not only original, well optimized by search engine guidelines, but is actually meaningful to the human audience. What good is it to rank high in the search engines for something that reflects well on your company?


A Cinderella Website Makeover

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On March - 16 - 2011

When SeaPoint Farms came to us looking to reinvent their web presence, the first place we looked was at their current website. The design was a bit dated by today’s standards, and the technology had reached “end of life” and was no longer being supported.

As we typically do, we kicked off the project by surveying other websites in related industries. Along with the team at SeaPoint, we developed a Creative Brief that served as our guidelines for our graphics team.

The end result was a modern design built on our eFusion platform giving the client access to over a dozen different modules along with the ability to make quick edits themselves.
What did the site look like before?

Like Cinderella’s ugly sister….

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