Google proposes to rank websites on facts

Websites may soon see their Google rankings affected if they fail to meet the criteria set out in a new trustworthiness ranking, Knowledge Based Trust (KBT).

KBT is a proposed new addition to the tools Google uses to improve its search results, and would evaluate the quality of the facts on a given website.

Hal Hodson, writer for New Scientist, has described the problem: "The internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free 'news' stories spread like wildfire."

Clearing out the garbage

The Google researchers proposed KBT in February. If KBT comes into use it would compare the information of source websites against that of Knowledge Vault, Google's massive database of over 1.6 billion facts.

The research paper describes the process of detecting "false facts".

"A source [website] that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy," said the team. "We applied it to 2.8 billion triples extracted from the web, and were thus able to reliably predict the trustworthiness of 119 million web pages and 5.6 million websites."

Are facts the future of quality?

Matt McGee, reporter for Search Engine Land, said that it was unlikely the feature would be used as a blanket replacement to cover all existing websites.

He said: "This KBT concept wouldn't necessarily work uniformly across the internet, since many web pages don't exist to share facts and aren't about entities that exist in a Knowledge Graph-style database."

The researchers suggest that KBT should be used in conjunction with existing factors such as PageRank, and say that KBT "provides an additional signal for evaluating the quality of a website".

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