Google’s Matt Cutts Talks Search Result Popularity Vs. Accuracy

    May 8, 2012
    Chris Crum
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Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, posted a new Webmaster Help video today, discussing accuracy vs. popularity in search results. This video was his response to a user-submitted question:

Does Google feel a responsibility to the public to return results that are truly based on a page’s quality (assuming quality is determined by the accuracy of info on a page) as opposed to popularity?

“Popularity is different than accuracy,” says Cutts. “And in fact, PageRank is different than popularity. I did a video that talked about porn a while ago that basically said a lot of people visit porn sites, but very few people link to porn sites. So the Iowa Real Estate Board is more likely to have higher PageRank than a lot of porn sites, just because people link to the official governmental sites, even if they sometimes visit the porn sites a little bit more often.”

Here’s that video, by the way:

“So I do think that reputation is different than popularity, and PageRank encodes that reputation pretty well,” Cutts continues. “At the same time, I go to bed at night sleeping relatively well, knowing that I’m trying to change the world. And I think a lot of people at Google feel that way. They’re like trying to find the best way to return the best content. So we feel good about that. And at the same time, we do feel the weight, the responsibility of what we’re doing, because are we coming up with the best signals? Are we finding the best ways to slice and dice data and measure the quality of pages or the quality of sites? And so people brainstorm a lot. And I think that they do feel the weight, the responsibility of being a leading search engine and trying to find the very best quality content.”

“Even somebody who has done a medical search, the difference between stage four brain cancer versus the query grade four brain cancer, it turns out that very specific medical terminology can determine which kinds of results you get. And if you just happen not to know the right word, then you might not get the best results. And so we try to think about how can we help the user out if they don’t necessarily know the specific vocabulary?”

Interesting example. We’ve pointed to the example of “level 4 brain cancer” a handful of times in our Panda and pre-Panda coverage of content farms’ effects on search results. The top result for that query, by the way, is better than it once once, though the eHow result (written by a freelance writer claiming specialities in military employment, mental health and gardens – who has also written a fair amount about toilets), which was ranking before, is still number two.

level 4 brain cancer results

It’s worth noting that Google’s most recent list of algorithm updates includes some tweaks to surface more authoritative results.

“So I would say that at least in search quality in the knowledge group, we do feel a lot of responsibility,” says Cutts. “We do feel like we know a lot of people around the world are counting on Google to return good quality search results. And we do the best we can, or at least we try really hard to think of the best ways we can think of to return high-quality search results.”

“That’s part of what makes it a fun job,” he says. “But it definitely is one where you understand that you are impacting people’s lives. And so you do try to make sure that you act appropriately. And you do try to make sure that you can find the best content and the best quality stuff that you can. But it’s a really fun job, and it’s a really rewarding job for just that same reason.”

Cutts then gets into some points that the antitrust lawyers will surely enjoy.

“What makes me feel better is that there are a lot of different search engines that have different philosophies,” he says. “And so if Google isn’t doing a good job, I do think that Bing, or Blekko, or DuckDuckGo, or other search engines in the space will explore and find other ways to return things. And not just other general search engines, but people who want to do travel might go specifically to other websites. So I think that there’s a lot of opportunities on the web.”

“I think Google has done well because we return relatively good search results. But we understand that if we don’t do a good job at that, our users will complain,” he says. “They’ll go other places. And so we don’t just try to return good search results because it’s good for business. It’s also because we’re Google searchers as well. And we want to return the best search results so that they work for everybody and for us included.”

Well, users do complain all the time, and certainly some of them talking about using other services, but the monthly search market reports don’t appear to suggest that Google has run too many people off, so they must be doing something right.

  • http://clasificadosplazapr.com jose luis

    un buen comentario ayuda mucho para mejora el posicionamiento de mi pagina web

  • Justin

    Be informed & aware:
    WHY does Google corp. act
    unethically, sordidly, deceptively
    to promote corrupt, illicit, fraudulent
    (Pharm JunkPusher & Obscene)

  • Justin

    Harmfully Corrupt GOOGLE corp. — deliberately DECEPTIVE chicanery & UNETHICAL SCAMS, FRAUD, RACKETEERING, abetting illicit PHARM-junk pushing & SEX TRAFFICKING —
    In$ide Crooked GOOGLE Corp. ‘SEARCH QUALITY’ FIASCO —

    Attn: Tech. Journalists and Consumer Watchdog Agencies, Orgs. & Advocates
    ==> INVESTIGATE GOOGLE Corp.’s RELATIONSHIP w/ corrupt, fraudulent RANDOM-AGGREGATOR, keyword-stuffed WEBSPAM (illicit Pharm-Junk, Obscene Porn & Malware links) —
    including illegal pharmaceutical-pusher sites, sex-trafficking links on hacked sites,
    & other blatant search abuse scam sites — Google deliberately abets placement (hard-coding),
    prioritizes & promotes these sites! —
    while also displaying misleading, deceitfully-fabricated SNIPPETS !


  • http://www.seoxcellence.com/blog Mitch Mitchell

    I think it’s interesting to hear Matt talk about page rank, which some of us don’t consider as being all that important, not tracking popularity as much as it tracks links. It goes a long way in explaining how some sites have tons of visitors and subscribers yet aren’t ranked all that high. And for me, the fact that Google can at any time just yank page rank is what invalidated it somewhat, as opposed to traffic, which no one can deny. Good stuff shared here.

  • VerdadTeller2us

    Key topic: Google ‘Search Quality’ fiasco —
    GOOGLE HYPOCRISY & Predatory Corruption
    re: obscene fraudulent nonsense-string (scraped names) WebSpam that is prevalent in Google Search Results

    > Question:
    Is Google deliberately abetting
    corrupt obscene fraudulent Israeli/Russian-jewish organized-crime WebSpam & WebSCAM porn
    for profit ??

    Related, significant info. re: Google Corp.:

    (& see Link, July 2013)
    “Google gets Lowest Score Ever in Customer Satisfaction Survey” =>
    >> also, view:
    “Customer Service Scoreboard” site (note: Google Corp. has ‘Terrible” rating) =>

    Please be aware that…
    (‘Google groupie’) Ashley Berman Hale serves as an operative shill
    for Israeli/Russian-Jewish organized crime protecting their ‘Porn Empire’
    — this explains why her comments are uselessly snarky
    and she is deliberately unhelpful to the victims of corrupt,
    obscene, fraudulent (scraped names, phone#) WebSpam sites —
    corrupt (random nonsense-string) Spam-Junk sites which are clandestinely abetted by Google Corp. (for profit)
    and which ludicrously proliferate in typical awful-quality Google search results.

    * please note: I am honestly reporting the above
    info. — I myself am jewish heritage & I’m the
    daughter of holocaust survivors —
    however, the public should realize it is a FACT that many criminal-scam websites
    perpetrating ‘search abuse’, (including obscene & fraudulent scraped names, phone# etc.)
    WebSpam sites, are controlled by Israeli/Russian-Jewish organized crime — and are harbored/facilitated
    and protected or even promoted by Google Corporation.

    ASHLEY BERMAN HALE provides ‘cover’
    for Google Corp. harmful corruption
    & lack of responsible business practices…

    please note: I assuredly guarantee that Google Corp. affiliates immediately remove
    any corrupt WebScam listings that
    mention themselves !
    > Google Corp. affiliates protect themselves
    but not YOU — the general public —
    from corrupt obscene fraudulent WebSpam (scraped names, phone#, etc.)
    that is creepily, awfully abundant in typical Google search results !

    => Google’s HYPOCRISY
    & deleterious corporate practices !
    Google’s so-called SPAM REPORTS are
    apparently USELESS wastes of time!

    > Attention: MATT CUTTS,
    Google ‘Search Quality’ Team
    (& affiliated Google staff & Google shills)

    Please note: Ashley’s prior “Webmaster Central” comments are not relevant,
    because as I stated, I already prevously submitted Google Spam Reports several times —
    And… the (supposed) Google standards-violating
    corrupt obscene WebSpam site is quite BLATANTLY
    & OBVIOUSLY using randomly SCRAPED Names
    & words, as displayed by Google in the crappy
    search results NONSENSE-String SNIPPET
    (shown below) !

    WHY has Google ‘search quality’ apparently
    DETERIORATED, in general ??

    Unfortunately, Google ‘search results’ are chockfull of corrupt, harmfully fraudulent,
    erroneous & meaningless nonsense-string (random scraped words/names hodgepodge)
    listings — including ludicrous & obscene SNIPPETS that display people’s
    full names & business names, fraudulently mis-used within WEBSPAM SEARCH ABUSE !!

    see egregious example —
    this type of sleazy WebSpam which Google Corp. seems to abet…
    Note: Ashley Berman Hale thinks that the fraudulent mis-use
    of randomly scraped names is not problematic for… other people
    (for the ‘peons’), but let’s see how she
    likes to be exploited by Google Corp. sleazy corrupt recklessness
    when it happens to her:

    droom design …
    … homes.com http://www.for rent las.com http://www.vegas.comwww ……
    ASHLEY BERMAN HALE Cisco … teacher leani may mp jocks.com http://www.oral sex pastoralopenings.com http://www.sk marine …

    WHY is Google Corp. seemingly promoting &
    proliferating this obscene and fraudulent
    scraped-names nonsense garbage ??
    — Exactly WHO is profiteering
    from deliberately awful-quality, crappy
    & sleazy search results !!

    Attn: Alan Eustace, Amit Singhal, Matt Cutts
    and GOOGLE ‘Search Quality’ Team

    See example of corrupt obscene nonsense-string (search abuse) WebSpam
    that is fraudulently & erroneously
    mis-using my full name, which is displayed in Google snippets.
    Note: I don’t have any connection whatsoever with this disgusting corrupt website,
    which has obviously scraped my name and other contents of random names & words…
    (see problem snippet below) = Google Corporation’s typical crappy, misleading & fraudulent
    OBSCENE SPAM-JUNK ‘search result’ SNIPPET =>

    !!LOOKING FOR CASUAL SAFE SECURE SEX!! droom design … http://www.gaymafia.info/217.html‎
    … homes.com http://www.for rent las.com http://www.vegas.com …. Matt Cutts … teacher leani may mp jocks.com Larry Page http://www.oral sex pastoralopenings.com http://www.sk marine …

    corrupt Google WebSpam … Amanda Rosenberg … Amit Singhal … typical Google crappy search result … homes.com http://www.for rentlas.com John Mueller http://www.vegas.com ….Matt Cutts … teacher
    leani may mp jocks.com Larry Page http://www.oral sex pastoralopenings.com Sergey Brin http://www.sk marine … Sundar Pichai ….. Alan Eustace

    –> Attention: GOOGLE EMPLOYEES
    REMOVE THIS (Fraudulent Search Abuse) Snippet IMMEDIATELY ! —
    The Google ‘Web Removal Tool’ procedure has been USELESS
    Also, I have tried filling out Google ‘Spam Report’
    form several times to no avail !
    This is the specific ‘Search Abuse’ WEBSPAM site =>

    I recently discovered to my shock that the above-listed (corrupt fraudulent obscene) website
    is a Google Corp. ADVERTISER which actually posts advertisements on Google+ (Google Plus) pages !!!

    > Google Corp. in recent years conducts itself in a deleteriously callous
    manner toward the general public.