Monthly Archives: July 2017

Google Takes the Fight to Fake News and Offensive Content with Project Owl

8-fake-news-Owl-algorithm-fcdGoogle is certainly unrelenting in its fight against fake news and content that is considered offensive, disturbing, or clearly misleading, as it officially announced the Project Owl algorithm. According to the search engine, their algorithm was being updated in order to boost, authoritative content while penalising low-quality content, specifically with queries that could display offensive or misleading material.

Further, Google introduced a feedback mechanism for featured snippets and auto-complete suggestions to swiftly obtain feedback from users on search results that are not in line with their guidelines. Google’s search quality rater’s guidelines were also updated to aid the fight and check that the algorithms were working accordingly. Meanwhile, what do the new changes mean?

Boosting authoritative content

As a way to fight the fake and offensive content that appear in search results, Google is keen on pushing for authoritative content. Google tags as offensive, any content that encourages violence or hate against a group of people based on a number of criteria ranging from gender and race, to religion and disability. Also tagged as offensive is any content that contains racial slurs, detailed how-to information about dangerous or harmful activities, and other types of content users in a particular locale would find intensely upsetting.

Featured Snippets feedback form

A Featured Snippet is an informational box displayed at the top of search results, designed to have a profound influence on the search experience. Featured Snippets are becoming even more important with the rise of voice search as they are the default answer to a user’s question. Google introduced a feedback form that lets users pick from a variety of tags that can be used to describe the content, and a space to make comments or suggestions. While individual snippets are not going to see immediate removal, Google will use the data to adjust the algorithm to effect the necessary changes.

Autocomplete feedback link

Designed to save time and help make searches faster, autocomplete suggests possible queries to users, drawn from the most popular searches. While it is a useful feature, occasionally, autocomplete may offer suggestions that are offensive or inappropriate. Google has now introduced a new “report inappropriate predictions” link that lets users flag predictions as violent, hateful, sexually explicit, or any other tag the user feels describes the suggestions.

Conclusion

It will take some time before Project Owl will be seen to impact search results; nonetheless, Google is clearly determined to present users with legitimate results. Meanwhile, new sites are not expected to find it more difficult to rank higher in search; neither will big brands have any advantage over smaller ones.

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Was There A Google Algorithm Update On Monday & Tuesday? Unsure.

Making useful information available and easily accessible is the main goal of Google and it dedicates itself to this cause by constantly seeking to improve the users’ search engine experience.

Google updates its algorithm from time to time with multiple updates happening within a day sometimes. The number of changes is between 500-600 updates per year. The updates are mostly minor and the results almost unnoticeable but there are some that cannot occur unnoticed because of the relative impact such updates have on the on page rankings in the search engine.

It is important to Google that black hat SEO practices by webmasters and search marketers are curbed.

Whenever there is an algorithm update, Google may announce and give hints here and there about the impact of such updates while other times, the updates are done without any form of admittance or detail on the implication of such update from Google.

What is most important is whether the updates have noticeable impact on SERP.

The main question now is that, was there an update on Monday or Tuesday, June 19th or 20th?

The drift is nobody is sure what happened. We all know Google can be pretty secretive about their updates but most of the automated tracking tools;(Mozcast, Accutracker, SERPMetriccs, Rank Ranger, SEM Rush) except for Algoroo revealed that the algorithm may have been tweaked on either of the two days. They showed massive spikes and activity but not many people seem to catch up to it.

Updates with impact cause a lot of chatter that may have resulted in a lot of satisfaction or dissatisfaction among the SEO community but the expected activity that is supposed to be the immediate result of such massive update is missing. No one is screaming foul or livid about penalties.

The SEO community always give an insight into the impact of huge updates.

Barry Schwartz gives an insight into what may have happened but even that isn’t conclusive.

Below is a screenshots of the Mozcast tracking tool showing huge changes in search engine results observed

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As earlier stated, these should stir conversations but nothing has been observed from the white and black hat SEO forums or Google Forums.

It is quite irregular not to have the regular noise that would have preceded or accompanied the kind of activity noticed on the automated tracking tools.

It is somewhat uncertain the kind of impact this update has and if it is an update or a change in Google’s user interface. it is certainly not related to the Google Owl as believed by some.

Did you notice the change? How has it affected you?