The goal is to filter out data from poor-quality "content farms" that manage to get at or near the top of search engine results. Since this is a zero-sum game, some Web sites will move up and some will move down. One vulnerable company: Santa Monica-based Demand Media. Its sites, which include eHow.com, Cracked.com, and Livestrong.com, produce content that's often based on someone else's work. The company says it hasn't seen much impact from the changes (though it's not easy to confirm that claim). The stock fell sharply this morning, but recovered later in the day to finish on the plus side. From CNNMoney:
Tests using trending topics show Google's tweaks in action. The current top Google result for a search of Charlie Sheen rant target "Haim Levine" is a New York Daily News page, followed by a story from gossipcop.com. The old algorithm would have featured two Huffington Post stories at the top, with the New York Daily News story not appearing appear until the second results page.
From the WSJ:
Danny Sullivan, who writes a blog called Search Engine Land, said an eHow page with "shallow" content recently appeared as the first Google search result when users typed "how to get pregnant fast" into the search box. Since Google's change yesterday, the eHow page has dropped out of the top search results. Google said the effort to beat back low-quality sites has been underway for about a year, and that changes will roll out to non-U.S. users in the near future. Google handles about two-thirds of search queries globally, according to comScore Inc.
From NY magazine:
This takes aim at scrapers -- the types of sites that pull content from other sources typically by pulling from an RSS feed without permission. And content farmers -- the types of sites that churn out articles like "How to Create a Start-Up Floppy Disk" in order to sell advertising for questionable profit. This announcement follows another anti-spam measure: Google's recently released personal blocklist, which lets users who are browsing on Chrome specify what unsavory sites they don't want showing up.