Google Chrome Extension Punts Content Farms in Search

Tuesday Feb 15th 2011 by Clint Boulton

Google Feb. 14 launched the Personal Blocklist Google Chrome extension that lets people block Websites from their Web search results on Google.com.

Google took another step to stomp out content farms Feb. 14 by launching a small application for its Google Chrome Web browser that lets people block Websites from their Web search results on Google.com.

When installed by a user, the Personal Blocklist Chrome extension will let users click the "block url" button to block a site so they won't see results from that domain again in their search results on Google.com.

Personal Blocklist users may also undo blocks and edit blocked sites by clicking on the extension's icon in the top right of the Chrome window.


What clicking the block URL does is feed Google information about blocked Websites. Google will study the "resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results," wrote Google Principal Engineer Matt Cutts.

What Cutts means is Google is asking for users to help weed out content farms, which he defined as "sites with shallow or low-quality content."

Content farms, including those such as Demand Media, have proved to be a huge bugbear for pushing Websites chock full of ads that clutter up Google's search results.

Tech-savvy users, from bloggers to pundits, have been complaining about the rising spam quotient on Google, which was once hallowed for its clean, efficient search service.

Cutts and his team began cracking down on content farms in late 2010, acknowledging that content farms had become a problem.

Cutts has also of late found himself vigorously defending Google's search quality, including during a Microsoft Bing-sponsored search event. At the event, Cutts countered concerns about Google.com's search engine by accusing Bing of copying Google search results.

Cutts then revealed Feb. 12 that Google had to crack down on J.C. Penny after its SEO firm gamed Google to get top billing in dozens of popular product searches.

To wit, we now have the Personal Blocklist extension, which is currently available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

Read more about how Personal Blocklist works on Search Engine Land.

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