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I have some pages which are auto-generated. For example, I run an outdoor site and I have a page like this for different trees:

http://www.comehike.com/outdoors/trees/trees.php

This page links to each individual tree page, all of which are very similar in structure.

Am I in danger of being seen as a content farm? I am not really doing anything black hat, but I seem to be breaching some punished practices.

What is the right approach here? Am I in danger? :)

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  • Whats you gonna do? whats you gonna do? when the bad boys come for you? LOL
    – Starx
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 7:05

3 Answers 3

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"Auto-generated" content is viewed differently from "spun" content (and article taken and re-worded), or other low-value editorial content.

I'd say your content would be looked at as being "thin", in that there's very little actual content.

I wouldn't imagine you'd get penalized per se, but i'd be surprised if that content made it into the primary index. There are plenty of examples of this type of interstitial/navigational pages online - you should just expect that they don't get indexed, rather than be devalued because of them.

I'd suggest you look at your site architecture and UI in terms of allowing this content to be aggregated or served without the added number of clicks (using AJAX or hide/show) etc. There should be plenty of examples to follow...

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How many pages are you talking about? Closer to ten or to ten thousand?

I suggest you focus mainly on Google's intent. Google wants its users to find high quality content in their search results. They've observed that auto-generated content correlates to low quality content, so their ranking algorithm has evolved to make it harder for auto-generated content to rank well.

But if your auto-generated content is high quality, and unique, and people like it and engage with it, you're not going to have a problem ranking for it.

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As others have touched on here, I wouldn't worry about the fact the content is automatically generated, I more worry about the quality of that generated content.

So long as that automatically generated content is unique and of good editorial quality as well as being genuinely useful/informative then you'll be just fine.

At the end of the day, nearly all generated content will be no match quality wise than that of a hand-crafted post, so if you haven't for the time or the expertise, then elance.com should come in handy.

Good useful and unique content isn't *usually free!

  • Some very (very, very) rare exceptions are out and about of-course.

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