We rely on search engines like Google to find the information we’re searching for. Business owners rely on the search engines in order to be found. That’s how it works. People approach TM to design them a website and properly optimize it. Then, in a perfect world, the search engine results should be quick and concise with those businesses being found based on what the customer is looking for. In the current world, it’s getting to be anything but. Why, though? Why is it when you type in a search that you’re getting back a multitude of results that turn out to have little to do with what you were looking for?
One reason—aside from not narrowing your search parameters if you were being too general—might be due to content farms. What’s a content farm? There really hasn’t been an end all/be all definition offered up yet, but it’s essentially when a company looks for hot topics that folks are searching for on the internet, then has somebody write up a quick bit about it, essentially anything about it, then post it on the net. The link is clicked on a number of times and goes to the top of the search engine results, only it’s crap content with little or no substance.
Why do companies do this? For profit.
CNN published a Top 10 Biggest Tech “Fails” of 2010 and listed content farms as #8. Their point was a succinct one, that churning out crap content only junks up the web and stops it being what it should be, a source of information. Matt Cutts blogged about the subject last Friday on Google and assured readers that the search engine takes this subject very seriously. They’ve also launched a redesigned document-level classifier that will make crap content like the ones content farms spit out far more difficult to reach higher rankings.
It just never ceases to amaze me what a company will do to make money. The irony here is that two of the more well-known content farms will be speaking at a conference this March on a panel titled “Content Farms” or the Smartest SEOs in the World. Further irony is that one of those companies was said by the Wall Street Journal never to have made a profit, yet was delaying a public stock offering last December due to concerns over its accounting practices. It boggles the mind, doesn’t it?