Over the last few weeks there has been plenty of stories backwards and forwards about the quality of Google’s results, specifically that the quality is going down.
Google counter in an official blog post to counter that specifially by saying that search quality is better than ever (though conceding a short term increase recently)
Penned by Matt Cutts, it tries to convince people that Google are always trying to improve their results, that they take web spam seriously and they are implementing new changes to combat the new threats.
Google are in a different space these days than when they were fighting spam a decade ago.
Now they are the overwhelming search leaders and are beginning the attract the kind of attention that Microsoft has had to deal with due to their size.
Any small incident or problem will be leapt upon and made larger than life.
Reports generated by people with close links to opposition search engines will appear forcing Google and it’s fans to dispute the findings.
With webspam, the easy fight has been fought and mostly won. Computer generated content is easily found and algorithms created to weed them out. Each iteration from the spammers is met by an algorithm change at the Search Engines and the fight goes on.
But now we are talking about “low quality” content, often written by people (rather than scraped off other sites) for small amounts of money, on topics far and wide to capture and convert as much traffic as possible.
But here in lies the problem:
Most online business owners are in the game of creating content and hoping it drives traffic and revenue. Same as this new form of Web Spam.
What Google are complaining about is that this content does not add to the search experience of the end user. In their eyes, the end user clicks on a link that takes them somewhere that will not solve their question or provide the appropriate information.
So, does that mean that Google are now the arbiters of what is “low” or “high” quality content? These are much murkier waters than before and we trust that Google do this job properly, not to the detriment of everyday content writers that have something valid to say but may not be the most polished of journalists.
Plenty more ammunition for the anti-Google to fire up with.
Do you think this is a fight too far? Can you algorithmically determine high from low quality?