Google announced an important change in its search algorithm, a measure aimed at removing low-quality sites from its search results, thus responding to users’ demands in the past regarding this issue. Until now, Google referred to low-quality sites as content farms; ”sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful” and the ranking measure will impact 11.8 percent of the results. Google informed that the decision does not take into consideration the feedback received from the Chrome extension launched last week. On February the 14th, Google introduced an experimental Chrome extension for users that will be able to block low-quality sites from appearing in Google’s web search results.
A week ago we commented on allegations brought to Google on its search algorithm, advertising strategies and price. The company is defending itself in a Texan court of law regarding its policies and procedures for calculation AdWords prices and minimum bids to minutes and agendas from search quality team meetings and files regarding “black listing” or “white listing” of various sites on the web. Yesterday, Google was also the headlines with its ranking of paid links, namely Forbes, Overstock and JCPenney that Google removed from search results.
There are other tensions regarding search engines and the latest quarrel comes from a Google engineer that accused Microsoft of copying its search results and a Bing engineer answered back by accusing Google of profiting from spam sites. Clearly, the debate around content farms is not disappearing just because Google’s tweaking its algorithm. It’s an undeniable part of the web that will likely best be addressed by third party services, especially as the web becomes more personalized in its access, delivery and monetization.