For anyone following events in the SEO world, the recent Google "Farmer" update has caused some unnecessary concern and confusion--for the majority of websites it will make little or no difference to how they rank in search results pages. The reason the update is nicknamed Farmer (the internal Google name is actually "Panda") is because it is basically aimed at reducing the influence of content farms.
These are websites that have huge amounts of content on virtually every topic under the sun, but are only interested in getting visitors to click through to some offer or other. Google believes that this type of site offers little information and almost no value to the majority of searchers.
About 12% of the sites indexed by Google were adversely affected by this update, nearly all of them being large article-based sites. As a consequence of those sites being knocked out of the results pages, all the remaining pages in the same results category got a small uplift in their ranking.
Of course, the big question for site owners was whether their website has been affected and, for the majority, the answer is "no". This move by Google is another step forward in their goal of delivering good quality, fresh and unique content to people searching for keywords and phrases. If your site has plenty of valuable information and is not just a mirror image of other sites, you are unlikely to be have been hurt by the Farmer update.
This latest move by Google is a reminder that quality content, above all, is the best way to ensure that your website features well in search engine results pages. There are certainly ways in which the content should be presented in order to optimize the web pages, but it is the measure of how useful visitors will find it that really counts.