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Google Search update will make clickbait less visible in search results

The Google Search homepage on an Android phone
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is updating Search to make "high quality content" more discoverable.
  • The new update will penalize websites that primarily focus on attracting clicks instead of informing readers.
  • Google will begin rolling out the new ranking update for English searches worldwide next week.

Google is dealing a small blow to websites that churn out low-quality and unoriginal content by changing how they perform in search results and ranking them lower because of it.

The change is rolling out globally starting next week for search queries made in English. The goal is to reduce the volume of low-quality content that is more concerned with attracting clicks than with producing useful content for readers.

"This ranking update will help make sure that unoriginal, low quality content doesn’t rank highly in Search, particularly for online-educational materials, entertainment, shopping, and tech-related content," Google said in a blog post (opens in new tab).

For content creators, the change will reward websites that make visitors feel like they've found what they're looking for, while those that don't have a people-first approach will become less visible in search results.

Google cited as an example some websites that rehash content from other sites without providing additional information or insight. This refers to aggregate sites that don't add value to what's already been published elsewhere. 

The latest improvement will also penalize websites that publish automated content directly copied from other websites. However, websites that contain "unique, authentic information" are likely to appear first in search results. 

It should be noted that SEO best practices remain as equally important as the people-first approach. However, Google observes that "content created primarily for search engine traffic is strongly correlated with content that searchers find unsatisfying."

The improvement builds upon an earlier update that Google introduced to Search, changing how product reviews are displayed in Search. Both changes form part of a broader effort to "reduce low-quality content and make it easier to find content that feels authentic and useful in Search," the search giant said. 

In addition, Google plans to release another update soon in order to make finding high-quality and original reviews a breeze. It comes in handy when you want to find relevant information about a certain product, such as the best smart displays or Android phones, before making a purchase.

As for the new update, Google has promised to complete the rollout in the United States in the next two weeks. We’ll have to wait and see if this content ranking change minimizes the amount of clickbait pages on the internet. That said, the new improvement appears to be a step in the right direction.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.