Google will downrank click-farm garbage and aggregators to improve search results

Google says it’s doing more to demote low-quality content that’s primarily designed to drive traffic through search engine optimization. Several updates to search will be rolled out in the coming months, aimed at making it easier for people to find helpful content that was primarily created for humans and not for the attention of algorithms.

Starting next week, Google will release the so-called Helpful Content Update. This is to downgrade non-original content deemed to be of low quality. In particular, it seeks to provide higher quality educational materials, as well as more useful entertainment, shopping, and technology-related content.

For example, the company notes that people searching for information about a new movie are more likely to see results for authentic and timely information than those offering aggregated reviews without unique perspectives or details. In general, the goal is to uncover more results with deeper insights and better quality content. Google says that, as with its other systems, it plans to refine this approach over time.

The company has given content creators some guidance on what its search engine is prioritizing. Google lets them publish content designed for people while continuing to follow SEO best practices. Among the factors that the company suggests, they should keep in mind whether their intended audience would find the content useful and demonstrate first-hand expertise and in-depth knowledge of a topic.

It suggests avoiding “extensive automation” to produce content on a wide range of topics, or writing something with a specific word count in mind after hearing what Google is searching for. Removing unhelpful content from elsewhere on a site is also helpful.

In addition, Google is planning another update for search with the aim of turning up original and high-quality product reviews (like the ones you can find on Engadget). This measure, which the company will roll out in the coming weeks, follows a series of updates Google rolled out over the past year to elicit more useful and in-depth scrutiny of the results.

Improving search is an ongoing mission for Google. The company notes that it has made thousands of changes to its search systems over the past year. These were based on the results of hundreds of thousands of quality tests, some of which included feedback from human reviewers.

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