Feeds

Google algorithm change squashes code geek 'webspam'

More Stackoverflow, please

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google has rolled out an update to its search algorithms designed to reduce "webspam", aka "the junk you see in search results when websites try to cheat their way into higher positions in search results or otherwise violate search engine quality guidelines".

In short, says Google principal engineer and search quality guru Matt Cutts, the company's search engine will show more preference to sites that generate original content, as opposed to sites that lift content from elsewhere. Google is pushing back against so-called content farms – at least a little. The algorithm change affects a relatively small number of search results. According to Cutts, searchers will "notice" the change on less than 0.5 per cent of queries.

A week ago, in response to several stories complaining of Google search spaminess, Matt Cutts unloaded a blog post defending the company's search engine. "According to the evaluation metrics that we’ve refined over more than a decade, Google’s search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness," he said. "Today, English-language spam in Google’s results is less than half what it was five years ago, and spam in most other languages is even lower than in English."

But at the same time, Cutts acknowledged a "slight uptick" in spam in recent months, and he said that Google was "evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content." And on Friday, with a post to his personal blog, Cutts announced that this change went live earlier the week.

He said that the change would affect about two per cent of all Google search queries, but that users would actually notice something on less than 0.5 per cent of queries. "It's a pretty targeted launch," he said. "The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site’s content."

In a post to Hacker News, Cutts mentions two programming-centric queries where the change comes into play: "pass json body to spring mvc" and "aws s3 emr pig". Apparently, both were giving preference to a site called efreedom that has copied content from stackoverflow.com, rather than promoting the original stackoverflow links. And now they don't.

"An example would be that stackoverflow.com will tend to rank higher than sites that just reuse stackoverflow.com's content," Cutts said. "Note that the algorithmic change isn't specific to stackoverflow.com though." But he did not give other examples. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.