In a bid to fight fake news and low-quality content, Google is updating its search algorithms. In addition to making improvements to search ranking, the search engine giant wants to offer people easier ways to directly report offensive or misleading content.
In a blog post, Google Vice President of Search Ben Gomes said that Google has improved its evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content.
For the first time, users will be able to directly flag content that appears in Autocomplete and Featured Snippets in Google Search.
Autocomplete helps predict the searches people might be typing, while Featured Snippets appear at the top of search results showing a highlight of the information relevant to what people are looking for.
“Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of “fake news,” where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information,” Gomes said in the blog.
Google has a team of evaluators – real people – to monitor the quality of Google’s search results. Their ratings will help the company gather data on the quality of its results and identify areas for improvements.
Last month, Google updated its Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide more detailed examples of low-quality web pages for raters to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories. “These guidelines will begin to help our algorithms in demoting such low-quality content and help us to make additional improvements over time,” Gomes said.
Meanwhile, Google recently updated its How Search Works site to provide detailed info to users and website owners about the technology behind Google Search.