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Google’s Algorithmic Change and Its Effect on My Niche Sites

Google’s Algorithmic Change and Its Effect on My Niche Sites

By Pat Flynn on

Over the past 24 hours I’ve received at least 20 emails from readers about Google’s recent algorithmic changes, asking me how it might affect my backlinking strategy and approach to building niche sites.

In case you’re not up to date, this is what the latest algorithm changes do, according to the Official Google Blog:

This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites-sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites-sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

This change apparently has an effect on about 12% of search results, so this is really significant and a lot of people are already feeling the effects of it.

*Note: as I write this, the changes only effect rankings in the US. Google is rolling out changes world-wide over the next couple of weeks.

So how does this effect niche sites?

Niche sites have been notoriously on the lower end of the quality scale, primarily because it presents a relatively quick and easy opportunity to earn a dollar online, and as a result thousands of people create sites quickly without regard to the quality of the articles they publish. Sometimes, people even use software that ‘scrapes’ content from other sites (i.e. auto-blogging software), so the content isn’t even original.

As many of you know, I’ve been diving into niche sites lately so this change is definitely a concern for me. However, I was quite surprised when I checked the rankings for the 4 niche sites that I currently own:

  1. – Stayed at #1 in Google for primary keyword.
  2. Niche Site #2 – Stayed at #3 for primary keyword.
  3. Niche Site #3 – Jumped from #5 to #3 for primary keyword.
  4. Niche Site #4 – Jumped from #8 to #4 for primary keyword.

Now, I realize this is a small sample size, but based on what other people have been telling me I should have seen some changes, and I did!

They all either stayed the same or climbed higher.

This is just my educated guess, but it’s probably because I always focus on publishing lots of quality content on my niche sites, and because of this my sites aren’t seen as low-quality spammy sites, but rather sites that do provide unique and helpful information about a particular topic.

I definitely welcome Google’s changes because I think it’s a great reminder that we should never discount the importance of quality content on our sites, even on niche sites. It’s easy to lose focus on this because we always hear about external strategies, like building backlinks, that are sexier than writing quality content, but now you know you can’t do without it.

Google is literally giving us the formula for success here:

  • Create high-quality sites
  • Use original content
  • Write in-depth content
  • Be helpful!

As my good friend Nicole Dean says, “Make money by making the internet a better place.

My niche site strategies will not change, but just remember that my strategy relies heavily on quality internal content too. Keep publishing a lot of excellent content, take advantage of massively long tail keywords, and rise to the top of Google while leaving the spammers and content scrapers behind.

What are your thoughts on the latest Google update? Have you seen any change in your rankings?

Cheers, and have an awesome weekend!

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