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PostSubject: Seeking To Weed Out Drivel   Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:55 am

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In a tacit admission that Web publishers are flooding its search engine with low-quality pages, Google has revised its methods to improve the usefulness of its results.

Google said the change would raise the rankings of high-quality Web sites and reduce those of lesser sites, affecting 12 percent of search queries.

Sites known as content farms, which churn out sometimes mindless articles based on what people are searching for, have recently worked their way to the top of search results, frustrating some Google users. High rankings in search results are crucial because they allow Web sites to get more traffic and bring in more business, either through sales of goods and services or through advertising.

Persuading users that it has the best results is crucial for Google, whose reputation and status as the front door to the Web depend on them. Though there were many search engines before Google, it became the dominant player because its technology produced better results for users. If people begin to doubt the quality of its results, Google risks losing them to competitors.

While so-called content farms can provide useful information, many of their articles are of questionable value but achieve high rankings in searches. For example, an eHow article on making friends in college includes tips like “consider joining a sorority or fraternity” and “remember to have a good time, smile and laugh.”

Google made the change after technology bloggers, industry analysts and everyday users complained that its search results had useless pages. The response may help Google’s reputation.
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