Google changes algorithm to reduce spammy sites

January 28, 2011: 1:27 PM ET

Image via KeyboardCat

Matt Cutts, who heads the webspam team at Google (GOOG), today announced a change to Google's search algorithm which aims to improve results and reward sites which contribute original content to the Internet.  Sites that scrape or copy other sites' content will be demoted.

From the post, it sounds like the change is a small one but, if successful in meeting its objectives, could be followed by more significant changes:

This was a pretty targeted launch: slightly over 2% of queries will change in some way, but less than half a percent of search results will change enough that someone might really notice. The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site's content.

One of the larger benefactors of Google's search is Demand Media (DMD) which detractors claim produces low quality content, the type Google could be after in this algorithm change.  Demand went public this week and was valued at more than the New York Times.  However, since the IPO, the stock has been dropping steadily and today's news from Google won't help.

Last year, Demand generated $198 million in revenue, 18% of which came from Google Adsense advertising.  That has some wondering if Google is hesitant to penalize these types of sites.

Thanks to keyboardCat for the imagery.

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About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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