Evidently, one of Google’s biggest publishers is now the intended target of a Google Algorithm change.
In particular Demand Media was targeted. You’ve probably never heard of them but you’ve seen their sites like “eHow”.
Here’s how they do business according to Business Insider (link below):
Demand makes much of its money by…
1. Figuring out which search results pages are the most expensive for search advertisers to put keywords on.
2. Hiring a freelancer to create content that relates to those search results pages.
3. Putting that content on good domains and SEO-ing the hell out of it.
4. Selling Google ads next to that content.
5. Doing this on a massive scale.
It’s Google arbitrage.
And actually some of the material is not too bad.
And evidently it complies with Google’s Terms of Service or else they’d just yank Google Adsense.
But Google must not any single entity grabbing a disproportionate amount of first page rankings so rather than just manually exclude all “eHow” pages from the index, it’s trying to find a way to do that indirectly.
What this means for the average person? It remains to be seen.
It’s definitely another reason to build your own in house mailing list so you have an opportunity to drive visitors on demand.