This has been a long time coming - in Google's efforts to bring more quality to organic search results they're recently updated their algorithm with the goal of removing sites with low-quality content (content farms) from the search returns.
A German software development company called Sistrix wrote a very interesting blog post
about the change and shares the top 25 sites impacted by Google's update (according to their own 'visibility index' software
) along with some very telling graphs. (As is often the case, the comments on the post are very much worth reading as well)
For VAs with articles on sites like ezinearticles, suite101, hubpages, merchantcircle, and more you may be disappointed to learn that the content you've posted there is now less likely to garner a search return.
If I had content on any of the sites mentioned I'd keep an eye on my own analytics, watching for a relative drop in traffic to prove the point - and then I'd think about taking my content down from those sites. First making sure the content was on my own site or blog and/or a select handful of high-quality, industry-related sites that rank high for the keywords and phrases I want.
That's not to say you're necessarily going to be penalized for having content on the sites on the list (although who knows how Google's algorithm is handling links from those sites) but at the very least your content could be rendered ineffectual in terms of traffic and SEO
For example, according to the Sistrix article: "...the number of keywords these domains are ranking for dropped dramatically. Looking at mahalo.com as an example, it went from 33,875 keywords before the update to just 9,740 keywords after the update went public – a decrease of more than 70%.
That's a huge drop, and ultimately means many of these content farms are finally being recognized for what they are and will no longer rank in the SERPs. It also means that sites with valid
content to contribute now have a greater chance of ranking.