Google today announced key updates to its algorithms and introduced additional features to address the challenges with locating relevant from the most reliable sources available. Google has made structural changes in Search that include improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works.
From an era when organizing information included grappling with individuals or systems that tried to ‘game’ the system to rank higher entries in search results, today’s key challenges involve issues such as fake news, where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information.Google’s algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of billions of pages in the search index. To help prevent the spread of offensive or clearly misleading content that has been known to surface in a small subset of queries, Google has improved its evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates that surface more authoritative content. Last month, Google updated its Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide more detailed examples of low-quality web pages for rates to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories. These guidelines are expected to help the algorithms in demoting such low-quality content and help make additional improvements over time.
Direct feedback tools
With features like Autocomplete (that predicts searchers you may be typing) and Featured Snippets (that shows a highlight of relevant information.) Although the content that appears in these features is generated algorithmically and is a reflection of what people are searching for and what’s available on the web, they can sometimes lead to results that are unexpected, inaccurate or offensive. From now, it will be easier to flag such content that appears in both Autocomplete and Featured Snippets. These new feedback mechanisms have clearly labeled categories to enable users to directly report such content while using Search.
In order to bring greater transparency, Google recently updated its How Search Works site to provide more information to users and website owners about the technology behind Search. The site includes a description of how Google ranking systems sort through hundreds of billions of pages to return your results, as well as an overview of our user testing process.
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