Google’s search results cleansing rampage continues unabated. The search giant is now giving the power to users to control which sites make it into their search results.
In case you have somehow missed the recent media frenzy, Google has been very publicly making a point of cleaning up its results – the goal being to minimize the level of content spam that’s been cluttering up the search results of late.
Their “Farmer” or “Panda” update was an algorithm change aimed squarely at lowering the rankings of content driven websites designed to capture long tail search for the purposes of generating revenue through adsense (or other advertising). For the full run down, see our recent post on the update.
As with any updates, there’s always going to be fans and haters. “Panda” has had quite a negative impact on many websites, so the chorus of disgruntled site owners is quite loud.
Enter Google’s new feature where users can control the sites that appear in their search results – or more correctly, the sites that don’t appear.
While Google’s update is filtering sites that it deems “content spam”, there are still plenty of other sites that rank high, which users may deem as irrelevant or spammy.
Here’s how the new feature works (from Google blog):
“You’ve probably had the experience where you’ve clicked a result and it wasn’t quite what you were looking for. Many times you’ll head right back to Google. Perhaps the result just wasn’t quite right, but sometimes you may dislike the site in general, whether it’s offensive, pornographic or of generally low quality. For times like these, you’ll start seeing a new option to block particular domains from your future search results. Now when you click a result and then return to Google, you’ll find a new link next to “Cached” that reads “Block all example.com results.”
Now don’t worry if you happen yo accidentally block a site. You can see a list of all your blocked websites and unblock them if required.
While this is an improvement to the user experience, it also poses some risks for website owners.
Now your site’s first impressions are more important than ever. If your site comes across as spammy or misleading, you run the risk of users blocking your site from future searches. This will undo even the most effective SEO campaign. You really need to assess how your SEO landing pages will be perceived by searchers. If they might appear spammy – it’s time to overhaul.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Google uses this blocking data to identify other problematic sites which its algorithm isn’t blocking accurately.
What do you think?
- Is the ability to block sites a feature you would use?
- Do you think it will cause any real issues for website owners?
- What will you be doing to ensure your website isn’t viewed as spammy to searchers?