Don't be a content farm

Website owners who want to get their companies prominently featured on search engine results pages should probably consider modifying their sites' components to be more SEO-friendly.

However, some websites - particularly those of content farms where the only goal is to commercialize SEO - fall into the trap of becoming a cookie-cutter "Made-for-SEO" destination, meaning the user experience is secondary to keyword-stuffing and poorly written content, Search Engine Land reports.

Content farms are a direct example of this, prioritizing short-term SEO over quality research and reporting. It's become a fairly common practice, as they target their articles toward search engines with excessive keywords or titles with keyword phrases embedded in them, typically in the "How-To" format.

Google has caught on to this practice, and has vowed to fight toward its demise.

"As 'pure webspam' has decreased over time, (Google's) attention has shifted instead to content farms, which are sites with shallow or low-quality content," wrote Google's principal engineer Matt Cutts in a blog post earlier this year.

Google's recent algorithmic changes, such as its "Freshness" update, also focus on placing the most updated pages near the top spots, meaning keyword-laden evergreen articles now carry much less weight.

SEL points out specific characteristics of a Made-for-SEO site that should typically be avoided if being recognized on a local search is important.

Pages on the site are all very similar to each other - i.e. created to compete for minor variations of similar search phrases. This is typical of larger sites primarily because of their scale. These sites may also feature pages for products that aren't actually sold online, with the intent to cross-selling visitors on a different product.

As many people familiar with SEO are aware, regularly updated and quality content is highly important. Cookie-cutter sites lack any added value, making them unable to distinguish themselves from competitors.

The best way to build SEO is via links from authorities within an industry. Made-for-SEO webpages lack this type of profile, and typically receive no recognition from the more popular sites in its niche.

In order to avoid falling prey to these habits and getting shunned by Google, the media outlet recommends developing a recognized brand, being active on social media, offering top-notch customer service, providing helpful content and tools, creating an "exceptional" user experience and developing strong relationships with industry influences to ensure proper and effective link building practices.