Google has launched a new algorithm in an attempt to combat spam in search results. Matt Cutts, head of Google's Webspam team, confirmed in his blog that the filter was now live. The result, he said, is that "slightly over 2% of queries change in some way, but less than half a percent of search results change enough that someone might really notice."
The move comes as part of Google's drive to lower spam in search results, as complaints of 'noise' have soared in recent months.
According to the official Google blog post, the intended targets of the algorithm are:
- Content farms - Sites with low quality content are one of Google's biggest gripes. Known as content farms, they will be tackled with a "document-level classifier" to detect repeated words or phrases, such as keywords.
- Hacked sites - Google's ability to detect hacked sites has "radically improved".
- Scrapers - Scraping, or copying, content from other sites is on the way out, as only original content will rank highly in Google.
Cutts promised the new measures mean "searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site's content". As a result, natural SEO techniques will be more focused than ever on producing original and regularly updated written content, with subtle keyword placement. There is also talk of enabling detailed search feedback from users, to help find and remove sites that somehow slip through the filters.
Meanwhile, Cutts hastened to clarify that PPC campaigns still have no impact whatsoever on natural search engine results.