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Google alters search algorithm

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Mountain View, Calif.—In a blog post Thursday, Google announced that it had significantly altered its search algorithm to “reduce ranking for low-quality sites.” The post, which estimated that the algorithm change “noticeably impacts 11.8% of our [Google's] queries,” was written by Amit Singhal, Google fellow, and Matt Cutts, principal engineer.

“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful,” the pair wrote. “At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

Although the phrase “content farms” was not used in the blog post, industry observers believe the change to Google's search algorithm is aimed at Demand Media and similar sites. Demand Media responded to Google's blog post with a blog post of its own on Thursday.

“Today, Google announced an algorithm change to nearly 12% of their U.S. query results,” Larry Fitzgibbon, Demand Media's exec VP-media and operations, wrote in the post. “As might be expected, a content library as diverse as ours saw some content go up and some go down in Google search results. This is consistent with what Google discussed on their blog post. It's impossible to speculate how these or any changes made by Google impact any online business in the long term—but at this point in time, we haven't seen a material net impact on our Content & Media business.”

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