Google Refines Its Search Engine’s Algorithm

Stephen Yagielowicz

Search giant Google recently announced substantial changes to its search engine algorithm and website ranking system in an attempt to penalize sites producing low-quality content of little value — penalties that will apply to sites representing approximately 12 percent of Google’s search volume.

The move reportedly resulted as a response to complaints about “content farms” and offshore-generated pages designed simply to rank favorably in Google’s search results.

It’s impossible to speculate how these or any changes made by Google impact any online business -Larry Fitzgibbon

“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,” Google’s Amit Singhal blogged. “At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis, and so on.”

Publishing companies such as Demand Media credit search engines for a major portion of revenues, with 28 percent of its revenue generated via Google during the first three-quarters of 2010.

“As might be expected, a content library as diverse as ours saw some content go up and some go down in Google search results,” Demand Media EVP Larry Fitzgibbon blogged. “It’s impossible to speculate how these or any changes made by Google impact any online business in the long term but at this point in time, we haven’t seen a material net impact on our Content and Media business.”

Do not assume that only small companies and bulk content networks are feeling Google’s wrath, as the company has been penalizing a variety of marketers and merchants of all sizes, including brick-and-mortar retail giant J.C. Penney.