Google’s Latest Tweak to Algorithm Puts Content Quality First
Google recently announced in its blog the rollout of major changes in its search engine algorithm. While details of the algorithm update are kept secret due to its proprietary nature, the new changes are expected to impact nearly 12% of all Google queries. The changes are intended to weed out low-quality sites that use copied content or provide little or no useful information to end users while rewarding websites that incorporate high-quality informative content including research and analysis. This change to Google’s search engine ranking algorithm is currently being deployed only in the United States, but is expected to roll out worldwide after an initial testing period.
This is not the first major alteration to Google’s PageRank algorithm. In 2007, Google announced a new blended results method of ranking pages; known as Google Universal Search, the new ranking method incorporates vertical searching to classify websites into broad categories including news, video, image, maps, shopping, finance, and several others. The top ranking sites for each relevant category are then displayed on the results page along with regular horizontal searching across the spectrum of websites. Google Universal Search also incorporates local business results when appropriate to provide a more balanced set of results for the end user.
Even before the implementation of Google Universal Search, Google has been recognized as an innovator in search engine algorithm technology. A study published in the Journal of Informetrics in January 2007 demonstrated the value and accuracy of Google’s search algorithm as applied to scientific papers and documents. Finding Scientific Gems with Google’s PageRank Algorithm by P. Chen assessed the relative rankings of various articles and findings published in the Physical Review journals and found that Google largely identified the most cited and most valuable articles correctly.
The latest alteration to Google’s search engine algorithm is likely to change the way many online companies construct and advertise their websites. While most companies have abandoned keyword stuffing and low-quality content farms in the wake of Google 2.0, this should further shift search engine optimization strategy toward providing unique, informative content that offers real value to end users. Google promises future developments in upcoming months that will further improve the content quality of search results, so this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Chen, P. – Journal of Informetrics, January 2007: http://www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~ley/db/journals/joi/joi1.html
Google Webmaster Central, 2007: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/01/quick-word-about-googlebombs.html