Scraping and Content Farming Bad for SEO

Posted on March 6, 2011 • Written by Brad Anderson

Google is constantly trying to improve the search experience by updating its search algorithms to give users more relevant and high-quality content. But algorithms can always be fooled, and there will always be people out there who want to exploit search engine algorithms to boost traffic to their site. Some use black-hat SEO practices, like paid-links and keyword stuffing, but cheaper tactics that seem to work better are site scraping and content farming. However, they won’t give you lasting boost—at least not since Google changed it’s algorithm to penalize these sites.

Scraping and Farming

Site scraping is the act of republishing content from other websites (usually primary news sources) on a secondary site automatically. For example, if I ran a website that sold electronics, I could set up automatic RSS feeds of other high-profile technology- and gadget-themed websites that would essentially bring in the content of the other sites and publish it on mine. The effect would be that, to Google, it looks like I’m publishing regular content about technology and electronic gadgets, boosting my SEO and bringing customers to my site without really having to create any content myself. As you can imagine, most users don’t like seeing these types of sites in their searches because they are inauthentic.

Then there are so-called content farms. Content farms are websites that publish high volumes of original, but low-quality, content. These sites are usually annoying to users as well because they don’t provide good information, they just get SEO love for all the content they are producing, usually in order to make money off of advertising or Google adwords.

Don’t Be a Scraper or a Farmer

Recently, Google announced that it rolled out modifications to its algorithms to lower the rank of site scrapers and content farms. As a result, users are more likely to find the original source of an article or find more high-quality content. But from an SEO standpoint, it is important to keep in mind that these types of tactics won’t boost your site rank and are best to avoid altogether.

What that means is that you shouldn’t scrape from other sites to provide content for your own and that you should produce the highest-quality, original content you can, instead of simply publishing any shallow blog post just because it has the right keywords.

Content is King

In the SEO game, good content will bring you to the top the fastest, so instead of focusing on quantity, focus on quality content for your blog or website and you’ll see your rank increase.

Brad Anderson

Written by Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson is the Executive Director and Founder of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.

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