Feeds

Google algorithm change squashes code geek 'webspam'

More Stackoverflow, please

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.