"My website is not a content farm!" "What do you mean I am farming content?" "My website is a review site, not a content farm!" The exclamations and indignations are rampant. Sensitivity and embarrassment are mixed with anger and regret. Have you heard someone say: "Sure, I borrowed a bit, took short cuts, and why not? It is America! We are free to pursue happiness and capitalism."
When the search engine companies have reputations to keep and the results are nothing more than fluff or misdirection which leaves those searching feeling frustrated, their "customers" are not happy.
If a search engine could be looked upon as a "map" to get a person in need from from point A to point B, then anyone trying to bend the map to their advantge could be considered "unfair".
In the day when people applaud those who take advantage of "the system" while getting more and doing less, a slick trickster online is looked upon as a virtual mentor. "I want to be slick and trick the system" is a mind set which moves them to buy information books, systems and software to do so.
Google is protecting their integrity by saying "don't manipulate the system" because we will be focusing on giving high quality sites in search. The automated tools which provide little or no value to others and include money making links are being kicked off the top.
All of this is nothing new to someone who focuses on inbound marketing. Quality content, offering value and being helpful are essential in the process of an inbound marketing plan. So with one hand Google says "no" to automated tools which emphasize advertising more than content and with the other hand, invest in a company which is focused on inbound marketing.
Here is an extensive overview from Focus.com. This is an awesome review and offers not only observations but recommendations for how to take action.
Read more at Google vs. Content Farms on Focus.
What more can the entrepreneur do?
Fortunately, I have spent many years in the hospitatlity business. Service first is top of mind. Seeing smiles and gaining direct feedback is the best measure of success (other than sales and profits.) Inbound marketing results will forever have variables as long as there are geniuses improving their software which will be both a blessing and a curse.
The definition of "content farm" will evolve. Where is the line going to be drawn and when do we get a badge that says: "Not a content farm"?