Reaction to the Farmer Update has been, as ever, mixed. This is the latest Google update which has been a change in the search engine’s algorithm in an attempt to combat some of the content farms and scraper sites that had begun to litter the top of the SERPs.

There are, as always, loud cries of foul play from some whose sites and pages have vanished down the rankings. “Too reactionary” “Not well thought out” “Where has my site/business gone?”

Is the noise any louder this time than after MayDay, NoFollow, or any of the other Google updates? The growth of Twitter means that it feels louder, but whether it necessarily is would be difficult to measure.

However, there do seem to be some well-established sites which got caught in the crossfire this time. As the Farmer update occurred just as Apple prepared to launch the iPad2, sites such as Cult of Mac seemed to get penalised. Others with almost wholly user-generated content – no spam or scraping – also suffered.

Google have claimed that no significant changes have been made to the Farmer update i.e it has not been tweaked in response to the noise, although it appears that Matt Cutts briefly appeared on Twitter to pacify the Cult of Mac webmasters. And Cult of Mac is back in its rightful place in the SERPs, or so it seems.

The moral of this story is, of course: do not put all your eggs in one basket. In other words, do not rely wholly on the search engines for your traffic. Last weekend, Google the Infallible accidentally deleted 150,000 Gmail accounts. The majority are now back, but it is a salutory lesson to all that problems with technology can occur, and if your business relies on the Internet to succeed, you need to be investigating as many ways as possible to bring in the sales.

(Oh, and have you backed up all your data stored in the cloud recently?!)

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology