SEO News: Blekko Removes Content Farms From Index

As the debate around search engine spam continues (in particular reference to Google and the countless spam sites carrying AdWords ads, although they diverted attention away from it nicely before the FutureSearch conference by accusing Bing of stealing their search results), the increasingly popular Blekko search engine has taken the rather bold step of removing content farms from its index altogether.

Originally reported in TechCrunch, Blekko confirmed the move yesterday by announcing that they have removed the top 20 spam sites from their index, basing their choices on users spam click results (i.e. what sites or pages their users most regularly marked as spam).

The move began as an expirement, as Blekko allowed users to remove certain sites from their search results using hashtags; after collating the data, Blekko’s CEO Rich Skrenta and his team took the decision to remove the 20 most negative hashtag marked websites permanently.

The timing of this move is almost certainly related to yesterday’s FutureSearch conference, as well as Google’s recent announcement that their spam target for 2011 included content farms. It’s worth noting however that despite Google’s recent anti-spam algorithm update, most of the sites removed by Blekko still remain in Google’s index. This is no particular surprise, as we think Google’s update was based far more on pushing down those sites that scrape content from others, and feature low levels of original content, rather than being aimed at so-called content farms.

Whether or not Google releases another update to target content farms remains to be seen, but if they do, it will be interesting to note what they classify as a content farm in relation to spam. Will remain in Google’s index for example? The site, which is one of the biggest revenue earners for Demand Media, was probably the most high profile site to be classified as spam by Blekko (and has subsequently been removed from their index).

The complete list of sites removed from Blekko’s index is: // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //

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