Low Quality Google Search Results

Google’s search results are rapidly decreasing in quality. Too many searches lead to advertisements or to content farms with information that is not useful. It’s increasingly unlikely with Google that you’ll be lucky.

I am, as usual, not the first person to observe this problem. Jeff Atwood wrote a long post about this problem on his codinghorror.com blog. He provides many links at the end of his post to other blog posts commenting on the same problem. They make disturbing reading.

The WordPress people have also noted a problem with Google searches for WordPress themes. Siobhan Ambrose wrote a post on wpmu.org titled “Why You Should Never Search For Free WordPress Themes in Google or Anywhere Else.” She found that of the top ten sites returned by a Google search for “free WordPress themes,” eight contained WordPress themes with undesirable embedded content.

[Update on 28 February 2011]

Google announced that they are making a significant change in their algorithms:

[I]n the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. 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….

In the meantime, Razib Khan provided a good example of the typical low-quality content on a content farm that shall remain unnamed here.


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