12 Sep 2013

Does Google Take Action Against Auto-Generated Content?

In the latest webmaster help video from Matt Cutts, an engineer who works with Google, the topic of auto-generated content and whether action, in the form of a penalty, is taken against these sorts of websites. “We are absolutely willing to take action against those sites,” Cutt said in the video.


Video Source: Google Webmasters Youtube Channel


Many years ago, websites that used auto-generated content were known as “Made for AdSense” or “MFA” sites. This is because they were created in the hope that people would land on the page, not find what they were looking for and click on one of the many AdSense advertisements to leave the page rather than hitting the back button.

The content for these websites is automatically generated with a script that takes snippets of search results or web pages including those keywords. Think about those times you’ve searched for reviews on a television you want to buy, for example, and you think you’ve found a link only to click on it and see “0 reviews found for Sony televisions”.

“We have rules in our guidelines about auto-generated pages that have very little value,” Cutts said. This is because, according to Google, landing on a page that doesn’t give you what you’re looking for results in a bad user experience. Cutts also pointed out that webmasters can avoid being penalised by ensuring that search result snippets aren’t being indexed.

So, what’s the bottom line? If you’re a webmaster who is creating websites with auto-generated text and snippets, understand that Google can (and probably will) penalise you. And if you’re a user who comes across these sorts of sites in Google results, know that you can send in a spam report.