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I'm building a small social Q&A site. Another Q&A site that I use was recently branded by Google as a content farm and removed from Google results. I know what Wikipedia says is the definition of a content farm (low quality paid articles and spammy text across the page to catch search engines). That other site I use doesn't do those things, so there must be more to it than that. I want to make sure I don't do anything that causes Google to think my Q&A site is a content farm. What should I do, or avoid doing in designing my site layout?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 24 '12 at 17:26

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Thanks! I didn't know that other site existed. I'll wait until it's moved there, or ask it there. –  Fredashay Mar 24 '12 at 17:18
    
wait for migration, don't crosspost this question. But further questions post on Webmasters. –  om-nom-nom Mar 24 '12 at 17:21
    
How about a link to the old site for reference? –  Drai Mar 24 '12 at 19:32
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A content farm intentionally puts low quality content up for the sake of placing ads (also usually by spamming the search engines with tons of content to drive in that traffic). In the case of Q&A sites that other site had to have extremely poor content to be removed by Google (which site was this as I haven't heard about it and it's possible they were punished for other reasons).

Since your site will be driven by user content you need to put measures in place to ensure the content is of decent quality. Make sure content from other websites is properly cited. Make sure external links are relevant. Don't allow the same questions to be asked repeatedly. Etc. The community moderation the StackExchange network uses helps to ensure the quality stays high. The result is less noise and great rankings.

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I'd rather not give the name of the site. I'm a regular member of the site and have earned a pretty decent reputation (but they don't call it that), and I don't want them to think I'm bad-mouthing them if my comments get back to them. Thanks for the advice! I plan to implement those things you suggest. But my site will mainly be a SOCIAL site, so I don't want to be as strict as StackOverflow is. I also don't think I'll allow links at all. –  Fredashay Mar 25 '12 at 19:43
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