Google is making a lot of changes lately which can partially be attributed to the rising criticism that search quality has taken the dive in recent years. The aim of the latest change that has been rolled out yesterday in the US is to move "more" quality sites to the top of the search results, and the low content sites down. The main problem here is that Google does not define the terms "quality site", "content farm" or "low-quality". Google merely states that the "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".
If you'd ask me I'd say ehow, answers.com, mahalo and the like, plus all article directories like ezinearticles, single-page sites like hubpages or Squidoo and Wikipedia like sites (including Wikipeda).
It is to early to say how the algorithmic change affects search. It is currently rolled out in the US with other countries and regions to follow later this year. If you look at webmaster forums like Webmaster World you notice that several posters are not happy at all with the changes. While it is not possible to determine the quality of their sites, many report that their "legit" sites saw a traffic drop of 30-60% while low-quality sites remained unaffected. The drops happened on February 23 for most webmasters.
It may take weeks before the search engine settles down which means that the results that are currently showing are likely not the results you will be seeing in March. Google confirms that the algorithmic improvement - that's what they call it - impacts 11.8% of all search queries, a high percentage. The update did not rely on feedback from users who have been using the Personal Blocklist extension for Chrome. The algorithmic change did however address 84% of the "top several dozen or so" most blocked domains from the Chrome extension which Google sees as confirmation that the update is indeed improving search quality.
The problem with that assessment is that it does not necessarily mean that quality sites have filled the positions. Some webmasters who have voiced their opinion in the forum thread linked above have reported that low quality sites have taken over the positions, and that the change affected legit sites that they own or monitor.
Again, it may be to early to tell at this point if the algorithmic change has a positive effect on search quality. Do you see changes in the Google US search engine? If you do, would you say the search quality has improved, or declined? (via)
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.