Content Farming. Let’s dig in, shall we?

As experts in leisure marketing, we always have our collective ear to the ground when it comes to informative, engaging online content that’s relevant to leisure brands. Content which, at times, includes “How to” sites. “How to book an affordable Hawaiian vacation…” “How to dance the Cha Cha…” “How to set up a camping tent…” The list goes on ad infinitum. That’s why we are on board with so many web surfers in the disappointment, nay, outright frustration with Content Farms that pollute our internet searches. So what are Content Farms you ask? They’re companies who employ huge amounts of freelance writers, copy editors, etc. to create equally enormous amounts of textual content for their sites. “How to” sites in many cases. The goal is to produce advertising revenues by attracting as many reader page views as they can get. It’s all about SEO. Edit your content and your HTML coding with key words & phrases that are popular with the general public (“How to change a tire,” for instance) so they appear as the first 15 options to a search. But what makes Content Farms so annoying is that they all have the exact same information. Just slightly reworded. So many of these sites do not require research and links to said investigation that the writers are free to copy and paste at will. But why re-purpose all of their content? Well, the writers are paid insulting rates per article ($15 down to a measly $1) so it’s all about speed and submitting as many articles per day that a site can cram onto their page. And why do advertisers like these sites? Simple. The content isn’t time-sensitive. “How to apply eye make-up” will still be relevant six months from now. “The Japanese earthquake” will not. Enter Google. They got sick and tired of the glut of this “social spam” that they launched “Operation Panda.” They changed their algorithm to detect what sites are “farming” and many of the sites dropped in visibility by 80% or more. Hats off to Google and other search engines like Bing for combating this bothersome practice. Off with their heads. Too much?

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