[Google] is going to be coming down hard on so-called “content farms” that try to game its algorithm with low-quality pages filled with keywords.
I’ve mostly tried to stay away from addressing this topic because it conjures up an annoying online user archetype in my mind– that newbie who shows up in a forum thread or an email list and asks everyone for a quick and simple answer with no regard for the contents previously posted in the thread. Typically, these newbs get flamed or told to read the previous posts by annoyed forum members. It’s the same reason why RTM turned into RTFM.
I can’t help but think that the same thing is happening on Google now. Maybe it’s because Google is so good at some searches, people expect that they no longer have to do research to uncover truth. The rise of new properties like Quora or Yahoo Answers probably contributes to that change too. We see this impatience in the data too– instead of scrolling through pages of search results, users nowadays are more likely to search again with a slightly tweaked search term in hopes that a better result will show up on the first page.
Please don’t think I’m not a believer in search spam– I’ve been annoyed by it a lot. But you have to think that behavioral changes also factor in to the increase in complaints we are hearing these days.
It’s important to make the point that SEO is not as easy as the Google critics make it sound. When you research what SEO strategies are in vogue these days (and no, you don’t learn SEO by going to Google and typing in “how to SEO like a champ”), people talk about social media as well as good old link building. If focusing on the world of nofollows is what’s hot these days, that tells me that SEO is harder now than before and Google is doing a reasonable job staying a few steps.