Many SEOs believed that Google’s last algorithm change, executed in January, was a major move towards fulfilling the search engine’s promise to eliminate search engine spam. Now, yet another algorithm change, announced on February 24, has put the January update in the shade.

Google’s recent announcement of the February update noted that the change had been announced because it affected a much larger than usual number of sites. The update, which was predicted to affect 11.8% of queries on Google, only affects Google’s US site, but it could be an indication of more to come for its other English-based search engines.

The search engine mentioned upcoming moves against scraper sites and content farms when talking about updates in January. The late-January algorithm update was thought to specifically target scraper sites, which ‘scrape’ content from original sources. Many in the search engine optimisation industry have therefore concluded that the February update is Google’s attack on content farms, although this was unstated in the search engine’s blog on February 24. Content farms are generally seen as any site with low-quality content.

The algorithm update is yet another sign that sites need to step up their content provision if they want to get a good ranking. As more and more sites discover the usefulness of search engine optimisation techniques, the quality of the average web page is slowly improving, but not fast enough for Google. The continued push against search engine spam indicates that although the change currently only affects Google’s US results so far, UK site owners should take this update as a warning.

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