Google Takes on Critics and Spam

Google's search results have been coming under fire lately as users are sent to low-quality and spammy sites -- and now Google says it's unleashing a new feature to detect and banish those sites.

Google detailed the new classifier on its Google Blog, after linking to three articles from TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb and Coding Horror criticizing Google search quality. The new classifier, armed with a bunch of search terms and content that seems to follow spammy websites, will dig out the troublemakers from the algorithm, Google says.

While I, too, have noticed how hard it is to wade garbage sites to find something substantial, I'm not totally blaming Google. Google is the primary search engine and because of that, search-engine optimizers and marketers have spent years (and continue to do so) figuring out how to game the algorithm. One of the ways to do that is with content farms, such as Demand Media, or "scrapers," sites that feature no original content but link to others' content, which usually make good numbers and ad money.

These are sites different from the ones randomly generated by a computer, these are human-created and at least in the case of content mills, they have content -- if low-quality content.

Matt Cutts, Google's principal engineer, continued on the blog ,"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."

While this may handle the aggregators with zero to little original content, I'm not seeing how Google will  stop content mills from proliferating its Internet search. Low-quality original content is still original content, even if users would rather wade through it to get to the really good content -- so unless Google plans to block eHow or other Demand Media sites, plan to get wading.

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