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Last week there were a flurry of tweets and blog posts on the latest news – Google had updated the algorithm used for search queries, a change which will no doubt have a major impact effect  across the Internet.  With the new algorithm, online content will be ranked based upon its origins, rather than site source, an action taken in an effort to limit so-called “black hat” tactics to influence search engine results.

Recently, the New York Times featured a fascinating article about how JC Penney is being penalized by Google for its alleged use of “black hat” search engine tactics.  Online search expert Doug Pierce conducted a study on why JC Penney was ranked number one in every search category, from cocktail dresses to suitcases.  It appears that the multi-billion dollar company paid to have thousands of links scattered across hundreds of sites all over the Web, all of which led directly to JCPenney.com.

On the official Google Blog, Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts noted that:

“Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content—both good and bad—comes online all the time.”

“Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. 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. 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.”

Image source: searchenginejournal.com
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