Google Announces Algorithm Change

Late last week, Google announced it had made a major change to its algorithm so as to improve the rankings of high-quality web sites in its search results. This change was made in an effort to also reduce the visibility of low-quality sites. Although Google did not say so directly, the change might appear to have been made to address so called content farms, such as eHow and Answerbag. These sites generate articles based on popular search queries so they will be at the top of the rankings.

Some users have criticized Google for allowing non useful articles to appear at the top of search results. However, the algorithm change addresses this problem.

Amit Singhal, a Google fellow, and Matt Cutts, who leads Google’s spam-fighting team, wrote in a recent company blog post: “This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites ? sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other Web sites or sites that are just not very useful. 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.”

Google has stated it makes around 500 changes to its algorithm a year, but most are so small the company doesn’t announce them. This change will affect roughly 12% of search queries, Google said, so it is big enough to significantly change the results people see.