Google’s Matt Cutts takes on an interesting question in today’s Webmaster Help video:
What is being done to detect and remove results from larger sites when they don’t have unique content that is relevant to a query (e.g. yelp.com results with no reviews, Facebook “business” pages that weren’t actually created by the business)?
Cutts says he likes the question, but wouldn’t just restrict it to larger sites.
“In general, we look at the value add, or you know, whether there’s some compelling value add, even at a page level, and we try to write algorithms to reflect that, but it is the case that sometimes you will find pages that get indexed that say, you know, ‘Zero reviews found,’ and so there’s basically no content to actually base your opinion on when you visit that page,” says Cutts.
He continues, “So even starting back in 2009, I found a blog post that I did – ‘Give Google Feedback on No Results Pages,’ and so if people – it was a complaint even back then – people didn’t like having empty review sites, where you click through and it says there are no reviews for that product. So either do a spam report or show up at the forum or you might even still be able to use the form that I mentioned in that 2009 blog post.”
He adds, “But basically, we are happy to say, ‘Hey look, if you are even doing search, and there’s no search results on that page, that’s the sort of thing that users get really angry about – they complain about. And so that is the sort of thing that, under our technical guidelines (if you look at our quality guidelines), we do say that we’re willing to prune out those sort of search results.”