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Google Algorithm Devastates Small Publishers

As any successful website owner will tell you, if you are not getting traffic from Google you are nothing. Sadly, this is true in many cases. And Google’s latest algorithm update, which are dubbed Farmer and Panda, there were obviously some winners and some losers.

What has come to light is that many of the losers were mainly small mom and pop publishers which lack SEO skills and the budget to hire SEO professionals. You know the mom and pop type sites - the ones that typically have a limited amount of niche traffic but are heavily dependent on traffic to maintain their businesses. And there are some reports that already some smaller sites have closed their doors.

What is troubling in this latest Google algorithm update is its apparent lack of algorithmic signals. Many of the smaller websites that lost their ranks actually provide more detailed information then the larger publishers. So why the change?

In an effort to combat spam, all search engines need to tweak their algorithms. But this latest update by Google was what is considered a major update. The update, according to Google, impacted nearly 12% of their search results. And since this algorithm update has a focus on onpage factors, the opportunity for a few high quality backlinks to correct the problem are limited. In fact, Google’s algorithm may disregard backlink signals for onpage factors. While nobody knows this yet, time will tell how to best cope with the sudden drop in ranks.

Also, it has come to light that some publishers have been “whitelisted” so that this latest algorithm update will not impact them. And as one would guess, it’s not the small mom and pop publishers that are the ones being whitelisted. Their voice is just too soft in a world where large online publishers use their financial resources to speak loudly and spread their words through press releases, video, social media and other online distribution channels.

It is my opinion that once you must start whitelisting websites, which have been impacted by an algorithm update, the algorithm is severely flawed. For if its signals can not pick up on true quality content, then it should be deactivated until it is revised to remove the need for whitelisting.

Those that would like to read more about how Google has shifted billions of dollars from small operations to the large publishers may view this post at CNN Money. While some bad apples have certainly been cut to the core with this algorithm update, I do take issue with CNN generalizing the shift occurring from “losers” to “winners.” Many of the “losers” that CNN is referring to are small family run businesses that have been devastated with major losses in traffic.

Additionally, more data regarding this transfer of traffic from small publishers to large publishers is available at Search Engine Watch. Detailed graphics are posted which display the decimation of small publishers and the amount of traffic picked up by large brands.
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