Google whacks link farms
Less crud with your search
Google has made a major change to its search algorithms in order to try to scrub more link farm results from appearing near the top of search results.
The search and advertising giant tweaks results all the time, but said these changes would hit 11.8 per cent of results, and so it wanted people to know what is going on.
The company said: "This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites – sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful."
Results almost always contain at least one or two links to pages that have merely scraped content from other sites based on "hot" search terms likely to attract people from search engines.
The company said the list was not based on the Chrome browser blacklist extension. But it did compare what sites people chose to block via the extension and what websites its algorithms were identifying as crap sites.
Looking at the top few dozen sites which people chose to block from their search results, the algorithms caught 84 per cent of them, which Google described as "strong independent confirmation of the user benefits".
So far the changes are US-only, but will be rolled out worldwide if all goes well.
The page for Google's statement on algorithm changes is here.
At long last
...and more of this please.
(and pretty please, and option to only return pages that contain my bloody search terms!)
what about paysites and synthetic pages?
I would love Google to block or demote experts-exchange.com as the key part of any page found in the results is behind a paywall - and a genuine answer is always to be found in a different search result anyway.
Also could Google at last find a way to deal with 'generated' web pages, that seem to be a faux custom result page just based on search keywords?
This is good; Linkfarns and scrapers are just SRO cockroaches and I will really enjoy readign their howls of rage and big long wonky explanations of how this is somehow not 'fair'.
But it's only a partial solution to only one of the problems.
What I needed a few days ago was an exact match; but instead Google (and Bing etc) seem to think that a decimal, a hyphen and a underscore are equivalent. Big Fail.. For non technical casual search this is a valid, probably even a desirable assumption. But with the syntax of the error message I was searching for it was just a feckin nuisance. There was a more common phrase that was swamping the results I was after. And the 'exact phrase' box in the advanced search options is not really 'exact' for whitespace etc..Basically this turned what should have been a simple search for a simple explanation into a 10 minute exercise in result refinement.