Rise of the content farms and spammy sites that have little actual content has caused trouble for both Google and Google users. The problem is ofcourse not limited to Google, but affects every Search engine equally.
So what can you do to remove such sites from search results? Initially Google had launched a labs experiment that allowed you to remove a specific search result, later on it was dumped in favor of “star” which actually moves that search result to the top, the next time you search for it.
For the meantime, Google has announced the best alternative to all that, a Chrome extension that lets you remove sites from you search results, permanently.
With this extension, Google will be crowd-sourcing Content-farms by monitoring most removed sites and penalizing them heavily in the search results.
The personal blocklist extension will transmit to Google the patterns that you choose to block. When you choose to block or unblock a pattern, the extension will also transmit to Google the URL of the web page on which the blocked or unblocked search results are displayed. You agree that Google may freely use this information to improve our products and services.
“We’ve been exploring different algorithms to detect content farms, which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. One of the signals we’re exploring is explicit feedback from users.”
So Google is basically crowdsourcing their content farm detecting algorithms by soliciting user feed back to study as a “potential ranking signal” for search results. Hmmm … This is an odd move on Google’s part, as users will still have to find the extension (not everyone reads tech blogs), opt in and consistently edit their results to offer any kind of valuable data. There is also the possibility that rival content farms can use the tool to sabotage each other. But we believe Google is smart enough to take that into account.