I wonder if Google thinks I am a content farm?

Image representing AOL as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchThis past week has been one of the lowest views I’ve had in quite. I don’t know if it was the previous theme, bad editorial choices, or Google changing their search algorithm. So that’s why I have this new theme, changed my editorial choices, and investigating further about the details of the recent Google change. My daily totals are about 300 views lower than they normally are. Has anyone had this happen to them?

Lately I have had the worst views I have ever had.

Of course it could be just the regular give/take of having a blog. For the last almost 2 years I have had steady growth. If I had a bad day it might be 100 views less, but that was a rare day. I wonder if sharing the interesting links that I find makes it seem that I am not doing enough original content. That is part of the reason in the last month I have written more long form pieces. It seems to me that when information becomes overwhelming that being short and sweet would be valued. However perhaps I have been too short and sweet.

The goal of this blog isn’t to get views, it is to share what I know with others in these challenging economic times. I know that I wouldn’t have the quality of life I enjoy unless I benefited from the work from other blog sites. To me, the views simply give me gross feedback if my efforts are doing the most wise investment of time. I know that often when I am surfing on the web that 95% of the stuff I see is junk. Rarely do you find sites that are educational, trustworthy or consistently good.

For example, Lifehacker is questionable, Digg‘s standards are so low, Engadget is loosing steam, HuffPo sold out (AOL what are you thinking?), TechCrunch did a very petty personal attack, Macsurfer has way too much duplication, Apple Discussions is very repetitive, even WordPress categories are increasingly less useful. I think this is the unavoidable result of bloggers trying to act like journalists that have never been journalists. I have never been trained in journalism formally but I asked lots of questions to professionals who were trained, and the difference is night and day.

It is common to read in the comments of articles all over the web for people to find typos, errors in facts, or other obvious manifestations of hasty writing. I’m guilty of hasty writing, but I am not part of sites that make millions and are corporate owned and make a living from their writing. When readers find consistent bias and typos they justifiably are correct in boycotting those sites. I know that all of those sites above which have good content, are breaking down in the competition for traffic and everyone suffers for it.

I worked for publishers who got rid of fantastic journalists because they could save some money using articles written by freelancers and content farms. I never understood that. What makes something worthwhile is that there is unique or helpful to your life. You don’t get that without having a voice that takes time to actually use facts and not pander to SEO and keywords.

Blogs like mine struggle to have a unique voice because we don’t have the budget to really produce things that are helpful to people. If I had a budget I would do investigative pieces where we could present the bias and distortions in media. I know what my bias are and when I write I keep them in mind so that it doesn’t show, but you can’t hide what you really believe no matter how neutral you choose your words.

Google’s bias are not out for public display, but its clear that their past statements and actions are. They want to present the most useful content they have said. I have to wonder about the voices that don’t have a website and aren’t heard. I had a minister tell me once that the poor are a “silent minority”. I wonder how many other “silent minorities” Google has created, and if censorship is as simple as changing a formula that the gatekeepers control.

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