Googlers aren’t happy about the rise in negative press against its search results as of late. In a blog post, Matt Cuts, principal engineer at Google, outlined his company’s efforts to clean up search and reaffirmed some things we already knew.
Fighting spam and content farms
While he claims that Google’s search “quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness,” Cutts admits that there has been a “slight uptick” of search spam (bogus results) in the last few months. To combat it, Google has launched a “document-level classifier” that detects words and phrases commonly on pages with “spammy” content, making it more difficult for them to rank high in search results. In addition, Google has improved its ability to detect sites that have been hacked–a major problem in 2010.
Finally, Cutts spoke about content farms, or sites with crappy content, designed specifically to get page views. “In 2010, we launched two major algorithmic changes focused on low-quality sites,” said Cutts. “Nonetheless, we hear the feedback from the web loud and clear: people are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content…we can and should do better.”
Google’s search morals
After laying out Google’s strategy to fight spam, Cutts defended the integrity of its search results. Despite investigations by the European Union and a slurry of bad press, he says that Google does not show favoritism in its search results if a page bears a Google ad. He also shot down the notion that displaying Google ads helps a site’s ranking in any way, whatsoever.
“Google absolutely takes action on sites that violate our quality guidelines regardless of whether they have ads powered by Google,” said Cutts. “Displaying Google ads does not help a site’s rankings in Google; and buying Google ads does not increase a site’s rankings in Google’s search results. These principles have always applied, but it’s important to affirm they still hold true.”
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