Google announced Thursday a series of updates meant to better prioritize quality websites in search results, helping users find more reliable sources.
The tweaks are part of the company’s long-term work in promoting quality content on Search, as some users complain that their results have become too degraded.
“We definitely want to speed up that experience for people and make them feel like they’re getting what they’re looking for,” says Google’s search spokesperson, Danny Sullivan.
Google will roll out what it calls the “helpful content update” globally (for English-language searches) starting next week. The company will primarily be targeting content that was likely created for ranking high on a search engine, which it calls “SEO-first” content.
As an example, suppose you were searching for a movie on Google. In the current iteration of Search, results show articles that aggregate reviews from other sites without adding any perspectives beyond what’s available from other posts. With this new update, the company wants to highlight more results with unique information.
“What we’re talking about here is how we’re trying to do work on showing people more helpful content, more authentic content, all sorts of ways you might describe it,” Sullivan says. “But it comes down to content made by and for humans, which is a lot of what people seem to be seeking.”
Google says its product testing indicates the Search update will prove especially helpful for results relating to online educational materials, shopping, arts and entertainment, and tech-related content.
The search giant is also launching an update over the next few weeks around its product review results. The new update will be an adjustment of what Google introduced last year to surface more in-depth reviews based on firsthand experience in its results.
Rather than pushing users to a page that rounds up other review sites or to a person who suggests something without ever having used it, Sullivan says the company is working to surface more experienced product reviews. “There’s more value in getting you to expert opinions,” he says.
About the author
Jessica Bursztynsky is a staff writer for Fast Company, covering the gig economy and other consumer internet companies. She previously covered tech and breaking news for CNBC.