by Cole O’C
Back in February 2011, Google changed at least part of their search algorithms, resulting in rather different search results for the same search criteria. Google said that this is one of their biggest changes, which will affect about 12% of their results. Gabrial Stricker, a Google spokesman, explained that their goal is to give users the most relevant answers to their queries, which requires constant algorithm changing. The article explains that one of the apparent changes is to “content farms,” which are sites that publish content based on the most-searched terms of the day in an effort to attract more users. Another important change is that companies that create fake websites that link to their own, which would have boosted results under the previous algorithm, are being penalized in their position on the search results. Overall, it seems like Google’s algorithm changes are looking to eliminate certain ways of gaming the system that they found dishonest.
I am in favor of these changes, as the end result is that users like myself get more relevant search results. I’m very glad that content farming is being discouraged, as it really throws off valuable information that I could otherwise find. The article mentioned a very bad example of content farming in which the Huffington Post put up a “story” that was essentially just stating when the Superbowl that year started, but resulted in it being one of the top results when looking up things about the Superbowl, and brought a lot of traffic to the website. Obviously playing off what people are interested in can be good, but it needs to be quality content. If a lot of sites did what the Huffington Post did, then search results would be a bunch of lackluster results for the first two pages, which is about as far as I’m willing to look most of the time.
I also really like the change made in regards to creating fake websites that link to their own. The article mentions that Overstock.com and JC Penny were major offenders in this, which I think is rather tacky. I want to be able to look something up and get valid results that will help me find information about my query, not find pages that are only there because the company bought a bunch of websites and used them to link to itself. I really like Google as a whole, and I think that their search engine is a major part of life and the spread of information in modern society. As such, I am very pleased to see them struggling to keep their information clean and relevant for their users.
Goldman, David. (2011, Feb 25). Cnn money. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/25/technology/gaming_google/index.htm