What are Content Farms? - Definition & Examples

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Content farming doesn't involve any crops, but it does involve producing crops of content. In this lesson, we'll take a closer look at content farms and a few examples of sites that have been identified this way.

Down on the Farm

Take a look at this picture. What do you see?

Content farms mimic regular farms in that they produce a lot of products.

Row after row of crops that'll be turned into a product for consumers all over the world.

It may seem silly to compare a real farm to a farm of articles and information, but that's exactly what we're doing in this lesson!

What is a Content Farm?

Also called a content mill, a content farm is a website that pushes out hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and stories each day. That seems harmless enough on the surface, right? News websites do the same thing.

The difference here is that content farms produce articles (typically low-quality articles) with the sole purpose of building search engine rankings. Search engine rankings are how high up the list a website appears when people use Google, or other search engines, to find information on a particular topic.

So really, content farm material is written for search engines, not people. It's designed to be popular. But, for what purpose? What does internet popularity for popularity's sake gain you?

It's the Ads, Man

Content farms want people to click on their articles because of the overwhelming amount of advertisements they include on their pages. Content farms make money by telling advertisers, ''Look how many clicks we have!'' They then sell the advertisers ad space because they want their ads to be seen. The more traffic a page can generate, the more ads it can sell; eventually, the page can charge more for those ads.

How Content Is Built

If you visit any number of content farms prevalent on the World Wide Web, you're likely to encounter a fairly consistent pattern:

  • Very brief articles
  • Lots of ads
  • Links to other sites
  • Information that has been copied and pasted from other websites

Content farms work by seizing on the hot topics people are searching for--dogs, for example--and build content specific to that popular search (dog names, dog training and dog supplies).

The articles may or may not be useful, but they are always full of important keywords that help it show up in a search engine. Because content farms are designed to crank out a lot of information in a very short period of time, the articles are usually short, sometimes inaccurate, and often written by freelancers for very little compensation. If you've managed to land on a content farm's website, be cautious about the quality, accuracy, and dependability of its content.

Working Content Farms

So, what types of pages might be considered content farm material? Many experts have compiled lists of sites that have been identified as such. Here are a few:

1. Hubpages.com: HubPages describes itself as a ''network of sites where people write about their passions.'' You can find everything from DIY to lists of one person's opinions on the best football teams of all-time.

2. Buzzle.com: Buzzle's website says that they ''host good quality articles that are original.'' Still, the topics are pretty varied and enormous: 5,000 categories and counting.

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