Google Plans to Rank Sites According to Factual Accuracy of Content

If the boffins behind the scenes at Google manage to come up with the goods as intended, it won’t be long before there’s a hell of a lot more to SEO and website ranking metrics than abundant content of decent quality and a billion strong inbound links. Could you ever imagine a day when and where the actual accuracy and value of the content on your website is judged over and above its quantity and writing standard? Well, that’s apparently the future we’re headed for – a prospect that’s fascinating and terrifying in equal measures.

There was an article published in New Scientist quite recently that spoke of Google’s research team focusing on creating a system whereby the actual content of any given site will be read and evaluated in accordance with its factuality and accuracy in order to determine how it ranks. As it stands, quantity of content combined with uniqueness, relevance and a good dose of back-linking from other sites tends to get the job done – eventually however, all such metrics may be laid to waste.

Exogenous and Endogenous Signals

When discussing the subject amongst themselves and other science types, Google’s biggest brains are focusing on the difference between exogenous signals and endogenous signals. Quite simply, exogenous refers to the kinds of signals that come from external sources – backlinks etc. – while endogenous or actual on-page signals, which include the accuracy of the content. As it stands, it’s perfectly possible to take a website of which every page is filled with complete and total garbage and still get it to rank highly by using other SEO tools and strategies. If Google gets its way however, on-page endogenous signals will eventually pack the most wallop of all and could halt spammers in their tracks.

It’s an extremely interesting take on things as it’s basically a way of Google taking over and showing those who already trust your site the truth behind your trustworthiness…or lack thereof. You might have legions of fans, an army of followers and an arsenal of backlinks bringing in the acclaim, but if the content of your site isn’t accurate and factual, you may have no place in Google’s future. What’s more, should this be the case than a brand new website built that very morning could achieve the kind of acclaim and exposure conventional SEO would take months or years to replicate – simply by having its gloriously factual content assessed in real time.

Could it Really Happen?

On the surface it all sounds like the stuff of pure fantasy. After all, it’s one thing for an ultra-powerful spellchecker to go through your site and check the correctness of the text, but how on Earth could it look up and approve every last claim made and fact printed?

Well, this is where Google’s so-called Knowledge Vault comes into the equation, but for want of a better description is…or at least will eventually be…the mother of all warehouses of information. In essence, the system itself will be sent into a perpetual cycle of automated learning and self-improvement to such an extent that until anything new happens, it will essentially know everything there is to know about anything and everything from the whole of recorded history. In terms of terrifying supercomputer prospects it’s about the most terrifying of all – the fact that it’s going to be used for SEO purposes is however quite hilarious, in a sense!

This monumental database has apparently been under construction at Google for quite some time already and so is much more of a when than an if. However, prior to being used as an all-knowing, all seeing eye of Google that will snoop around everything you do, it’s likely to play a much grander role in information provision and storage for other uses.

Take Google Glass 2.0 for example – when it finally hits the market, chances are it’ll feature a function where you need only look at any bridge, building, street, monument or anything else similar in the world to be presented with a full description – all courtesy of Google’s Knowledge Vault. This kind of system is already up and running with many different brands and providers having jumped on the bandwagon, but with the way things are going it’ll continue to be Google that’s seen as gospel for information on all subjects across the board.

So for the meantime at least a few inaccuracies or white lies on your website might not hurt you – a few years or decades down the line however, beware…Google will be watching more closely than ever!


About Tait Pollack

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