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Google, Blekko Compete to See Who is Hardest on Low-Quality Content

First Google introduced a change in its ranking algorithm designed to cull low-quality sites from its search rankings.  Then Blekko followed suit by banning 1.1 million websites from its search engine. Now Google has upped the ante again with its latest move - giving users the ability to ban sites they don't like from their search results.

Besides the general upheaval the measure is causing in the search community, it also has the potential to add additional uncertainty down the road. As Google put it, while it is not currently using the domains people block as a signal in ranking, it will be looking at the data and seeing whether it would be useful in its search evaluations.

Even scarier to some in the search community, is an option suggested by Fortune magazine, called social block - that is, letting people block the same sites that their friends have blocked.

Blanket Removal

Blekko's move, however, is the more radical. The search engine, simply put, threw out 1.1 million sites. "Google didn't actually take anyone out, they just reshuffled the deck," said Rich Skrenta, chief executive of Blekko. "Instead of demoting these sites to No. 5 or No. 7, we're just throwing them out." (via the New York Times).

It also based its decision on more than just content and relevancy - whether the site used an online network was a factor as well.

Other factors it considered:

  1. Does the site publish articles on one topic such as cooking or a variety of topics, such as the eHow model.
  2. How trustworthy are the articles among users.
  3. Are the writers professionals.

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