Is Google’s Search Quality The Best It’s Ever Been?

    January 21, 2011
    Chris Crum

In a post on the official Google Blog, Matt Cutts, head of the company’s webspam team said that Google’s search quality is the best it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness, and comprehensiveness. 

Do you agree that Google’s search quality is the best it’s ever been? Share your thoughts.

"Today, English-language spam in Google’s results is less than half what it was five years ago, and spam in most other languages is even lower than in English," said Cutts. "However, we have seen a slight uptick of spam in recent months, and while we’ve already made progress, we have new efforts underway to continue to improve our search quality."

Matt Cutts Talks Web Spam"As we’ve increased both our size and freshness in recent months, we’ve naturally indexed a lot of good content and some spam as well," explains Cutts. "To respond to that challenge, we recently launched a redesigned document-level classifier that makes it harder for spammy on-page content to rank highly. The new classifier is better at detecting spam on individual web pages, e.g., repeated spammy words—the sort of phrases you tend to see in junky, automated, self-promoting blog comments. We’ve also radically improved our ability to detect hacked sites, which were a major source of spam in 2010. And we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content. We’ll continue to explore ways to reduce spam, including new ways for users to give more explicit feedback about spammy and low-quality sites."

The post was in response to a lot of talk throughout the Blogosphere lately that Google is losing its edge in search – when it comes to relevancy and spam. Some of this was no doubt fueled by the recent launch of the spam clock from Blekko, which may not be on the minds of much of the general public, but that many influential bloggers in the search space are certainly aware of. 

Watch an interview we did the other day with Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta about web spam here:

Cutts says it is a misconception that Google doesn’t take as strong an action on spam in its index if the spammy sites are Google ads. 

"To be crystal clear," he says, "Google absolutely takes action on sites that violate our quality guidelines regardless of whether they have ads powered by Google; Displaying Google ads does not help a site’s rankings in Google; and Buying Google ads does not increase a site’s rankings in Google’s search results. These principles have always applied, but it’s important to affirm they still hold true."

Something tells me Cutts and Google will never convince everybody, but at least they’re being "crystal clear" in their explanation.

Is the explanation clear enough for you? Tell us what you think