Google Search Engine Tuned Up

February 26th, 2011
in Background, econ_news

Google logo Econintersect:  Google is trying to clean up its search engine act.  The number of query responses that do not have a high relevancy is a key measure of effectiveness for searches and some web site sources, known as content engines, attempt to flood the Google search results with such links.  The nature of the game is to capture traffic and increase the ability to raise advertizing revenue.

The downside for Google is that such fluff on their search results pages diminishes user confidence in the integrity of the search process.  This creates an environment where Google, long the dominant search engine, is vulnerable to loss of business to competitors.

Follow up:

Some details from eweek:

The ranking change, targeted at Websites that copy content from other Websites and those that provide little value for searchers, will impact 12 percent of the company's search results, said Google Fellow Amit Singhal and his lieutenant, Google principal engineer Matt Cutts.

Google didn't mention content farms by name, but Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan posited the search engine could well be targeting sites such as Demand Media's eHow, which produces both solid content and low-quality content.

Demand Media responded to Google's change rather diplomatically in a blog post, noting that it hadn't seen any material net impact to its content business.

While the weak Websites will see their rankings drop, Singhal and Cutts said high-quality sites, or those with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports and analysis, should see better rankings.

The algorithm change currently impacts Google results shown only in the United States, though the company will eventually push it out in Google search in other countries.

The change comes 10 days after Google launched its Personal Blocklist Chrome extension, which lets people block Websites from their Web search results on Google.com. It's a sort of crowd-sourced approach to boosting search quality.

Editor's note:  One Google search response feature that this user finds bothersome is the failure to rank responses chronologically.  If I search for xyz sales I don't like to see xyz sales for 2005 on page one and xyz sales for 2010 on a later page.  I have found this type of response even when I query xyz sales 2010. 

Sources:  The New York Times and eweek









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