The race to reach the top result of a search engine is never-ending, with many companies dedicated to writing, re-writing and designing their websites just to secure this prestigious top spot. Doing so will boost interest and internet traffic and will certainly give a lift to the revenue of any company that secures this spot.
However, Google’s algorithms, from Pigeon to Penguin, are constantly throwing up barriers. With the ever-changing nature of these algorithms, it can be difficult to secure the top spot, and a running battle often ensues as companies scramble to ensure that their content and website doesn’t fall foul of the changing rules and regulations. Amongst these algorithms, there could be a new issue on the horizon: the recently proposed ‘fact-based algorithm’.
According to a research paper published by Google in February and only recently reported, this new algorithm could essentially evaluate how truthful content is. Obviously, the truth can be difficult to detect, particularly online, but Google’s proposal states that it is possible. The proposal says two things are needed to deduce the truth of a statement: the fact itself and a reference to compare it to. The groundwork is already in place for such a proposal. Google has dipped its toe into reference work with its Knowledge Graph, which allows users to ask simple questions and receive generally accurate answers.
This feature works due to the fact that Google can access details using the wealth of information from its sources to provide an accurate answer. This means that, potentially, Google could scour its titanic referencing database to determine the truthfulness of the fact. This means that, potentially, it could begin ranking websites based on the validity of their facts. If developed and implemented, it could be huge. Researchers found that only 20 out of 85 highly ranked sites were considered factually correct. The system has already been tested, so although it is currently theoretical and Google has announced that it has no plans to implement it yet, we could see such a algorithm rolled out very soon indeed.
If this happens, the impact could be enormous and could affect how content writers write and how websites market themselves. There is certainly the potential for error and it would require many businesses to seriously rethink their websites. Whether or not the algorithm will actually be unrolled is something that our team will be keeping a very close eye on.