Google Fixes Algorithm in Favor of Original Content

By Michelle Amodio February 25, 2011

Almost exactly a month after Google issued a statement on its plans to oust content farming, the search engine giant made good on its promise.

Google’s search improvement team has altered their search algorithm to shy away from aggregated content and look for original content.

“In 2010, we launched two major algorithmic changes focused on low-quality sites. Nonetheless, we hear the feedback from the web loud and clear: people are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content. We take pride in Google search and strive to make each and every search perfect. The fact is that we’re not perfect, and combined with users’ skyrocketing expectations of Google, these imperfections get magnified in perception. However, we can and should do better,” wrote Matt Cutts, Google Principle Enginner, in January’s blog post.

Now Google has taken the gloves off and is ready to fight for better search engine results. While Google didn’t give specific details on the matter, the goal is pretty simple: get the most relevant results for your search queries.

Google issued a statement on their official blog explaining that this algorithmic change will impact 11.8 percent of its queries.

“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. 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,” wrote Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, along with Cutts.

The news received some critical questioning when it was first reported in late January. It was questionable whether this was Google’s way of censoring the Internet.

TG Daily reports that it sounds too close to “editorial control,” and that it is unfeasible for “Google to prove that it isn’t exercising editorial control or favoring sites carrying Google’s ads.”

Demand Media, a site that touts itself as generating “content that is unequivocally useful,” has been one of the sites targeted under Google’s latest change. Labeled as one of the culprits of “content farming,” the company recently went IPO but has since put that news on the back burner to focus on how this change will affect their business model.

“We have built our business by focusing on creating the useful and original content that meets the specific needs of today’s consumer.  So naturally we applaud changes search engines make to improve the consumer experience – it’s both the right thing to do and our focus as well,” wrote Larry Fitzgibbons, executive vice president of Media and Operations on Demand Media’s blog.

“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.”


Michelle Amodio is a TechZone360 contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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