The world of SEO was rocked last month as what many are calling the ‘Farmer Update’ was rolled out. This alteration to Google’s algorithm allegedly came about after a growing disillusionment with SERPs which were increasingly displaying irrelevant results. This is likely to but the result of SEO engineers ‘gaming’ the system by inserting non-semantic links into spam content. Irrelevancy was not the only emerging feature of the Google SERPs, there has been a marked deterioration in the quality of content ranking high in the results.
Google , wanting to retain it’s already strong but potentially threatened position as the byword for search, changed the way it ranked content, with the first effects being felt on the 8th of February. This meant that optimizers who had taken short cuts in the past, namely content farms like Ezine to ‘mass produce’ links were hit hard, with many seeing drastic drops in positions. These farms host low quality, hollow content often stuffed with links, much of which is little use to anyone.
This is why I think the art of link building has been lost. Although the internet was relatively crude ten years ago, in the web 1.0 era, content, on the whole, didn’t have an ulterior motive. It was eagerly informative, sincere, perhaps not always compelling, but at least not stuffed with irrelevant links and shamelessly self serving. The rise of internet marketing has irrevocably changed the landscape of the internet however, tarnishing the web with promotions and useless, ugly content.
The Famer update will change all this however, SEO engineers will no longer be able to get away with spewing out reams of trashy content, instead they will need to revert to a more holistic, traditional way of building links, using quality sites to host ‘real’ content. This means that illiterate techies will no longer be able to game the system with poorly written grammatically incorrect copy, which can only be a good thing for the internet and humanity as a whole.
So where do we go from here? The simple fact is that Internet Marketers will have to focus on quality instead of quantity. No longer will ‘bang for buck’ take precedence over great, engaging content, no longer will programmers and web designers be able to get away with outsourcing content production to cheap agencies who churn our drivel. The lost art of link-building needs to be rediscovered.