Google Farmer's False-Negatives and eHow.com
Let's Get Some Examples
March 12, 2011
Posted in Ken's Blog
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A friend sent me an article that cracked me up. Someone was making fun of content farms.
So if you ever wanted to strike gold (or even if you didn't) - if you want to understand what a content farm is - read this post...
The author also makes an important (and equally hilarious) announcement - a brand new website dedicated to "the content farm"...
The new site's at...
Hilarious stuff. It's all a parody, of course.
Content farms aren't really that bad, are they? Could they?
Well, the other day I was trying to figure out how to convert cable to HDMI (wanted the local channels here in Anguilla that satellite does not provide). I can't tell you how many ehow.com articles I found.
The articles boil down to "hook coax up to converter, hook converter up to HDMI, enjoy your TV." Doh! Where do I get the converters, how much do they cost, do they work? You know, the type of information that makes an article valuable???
Of course, that's not surprising, given eHow's recommendations for how to rank highly. There's not a word about creating valuable content that visitors will value!
These articles (and tons of other articles on this topic) are absurd, every bit as absurd as the parody.
The Forgotten False-Negatives
The above are examples of false-NEGATIVES (bad articles, pure pap -- yet they get high rankings). Google's new algorithm should have identified this zero-value, regurgitated content and knocked it all out of the rankings.
Google is receiving a lot of heat for the number of false-POSITIVES generated by its Farmer/Panda/Pap algorithm (good content, but penalized). They deserve the heat, given how they've handled it. They should own up to it and fix it ASAP.
If you have a false-positive - a good site that has been wrongly damaged by Google's algorithm - report it here.
I believe Google only set this facility up to take some of the heat off them. Google fought the tide of negative publicity with denials and vague answers, until finally they had to "do something" that appears concerned.
In fact, false-positives were inevitable for an algo change of this magnitude. Rather than releasing this "too little, too late" as a safety valve to blow off publicity steam, they should have crowd-sourced from DAY 1, asking for well-documented false-positives.
But Google, as discussed early, seems more intent on managing negative publicity. Note, for example, that since setting up this reporting facility, they have not publicized it further. If you were in search of good data to improve an algorithm, wouldn't you try to generate as much data as you could?
If more and more people keep posting their stories to it (over 700 have already), the negative publicity just may push Google to prioritize a needed improvement - sooner rather than later.
That's about all you can do if your site is excellent and you've been wrongly hurt. But while we've all been paying attention to the "false-positives"...
What Can You Do About the False-Negatives?
The "cable to HDMI" eHow articles above are more than "just examples" of pap, more than meaningless anecdotes. They are extreme examples...
Pure pap. And there are tons of them.
How eHow's junk gets through the algo is beyond me. I probably won't ever figure it out because...
I searched "how eHow's junk ranks high at Google"... at Google. ;-)
I'd like to now ask for your help to get Google's attention...
Please post more of ehow.com's "false-negatives"... pap that makes it to the top or near it. Here's how...
1) Do searches at Google for "how to..." (how to do this, or that, or whatever).
2) Post your false-negatives (the Google search URL) to your comments below, along with an ehow.com example that you find. (It's a Facebook comment box, so please choose to share your post with your friends to spread this).
3) Have fun with it. There are tons of ridiculous examples out there, including examples that now surpass the pages from some great blogs and sites.
Let's get Google's attention, so that they answer...
"How do eHow articles avoid getting pitchforked by the Farmer algo? And what are you doing about the false-positive sites that are quantum leaps better than the pap you rank so highly?"
Ehow.com is a massive miss. It's like missing a giant wart on someone's nose. In the world of studies, you either have a high false-positive rate or a high false-negative one. Not both.
Help get answers from Google. Please contribute ehow.com false-negatives below.
Spread this post to others to do the same.
Thanks very much.
All the best,