Google revamps search to filter out ‘content farms’

01/03/2011

Google has altered its search algorithms to penalise sites offering "low-quality" content, saying 11.8% of searches will now show changes in the "top few" results on the first page. The search giant said the adjustment of its famously secretive algorithms will push so-called “content farms” further down the lists of results that users see.

“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,” said Google fellow Amit Singhal in a blog. “At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high- quality sites - sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

01/03/2011

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Analysts said the move would likely have the greatest impact on companies like Demand Media, Associated Content and Suite 101, which generally produce content that is gleaned from other sites and which is primarily designed to appear high on frequently searched-for terms.

“As might be expected, a content library as diverse as ours saw some content go up and some go down in Google search result,” executive vice president of media and operations Larry Fitzgibbons said in a blog post.

“It’s impossible to speculate how these or any changes made by Google impact any online business in the long term - but at this point in time, we haven’t seen a material net impact on our Content & Media business.”

Singhal said the change noticeably impacts some 12 per cent of Google searches and would be introduced initially in the U.S. before rolling out internationally.

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