Currently websites are ranked according to the number of incoming links, making it possible for useless and non-factual sites to get themselves high up search rankings purely because people link to them. This can result in false news stories spreading across the world, which can potentially cause a lot of problems, particularly for honest sites that struggle to get the positions they deserve.
Google has changed hugely over the last few years, and has gradually been introducing changes to help improve how rankings are given. The next big change could be the most impressive by far with plans to reward sites for the quality of the facts they offer rather than links alone.
The new model would see sites ranked according to how trustworthy they are. Each page of the website will be scored using a new Knowledge-Based Trust score that takes facts from a huge vault of information. Each fact on the page will be compared with details in the Knowledge Vault to determine their accuracy. Pages containing a large amount of contradictory or false information will be penalised whereas sites with the right details will be rewarded and bumped up.
If the change comes into practice people will have to take more care with the information they put on websites to ensure they don’t get caught out. They will need to research topics more closely to ensure all of the details they provide are correct. It will also reward people that are knowledgeable about a subject because their pages will rank higher for the quality content. This shows how vital good quality content is if you want your website to be successful.
The new system is not yet live, but it is being examined by a dedicated Google research team to test its viability. It could work very well, particularly when you consider the amount of information that the search engine has access to. The only major difficulty will be in ensuring the facts in the Knowledge Vault are correct and come from reliable sources. If they are the benchmark that other sites are judged on they need to be accurate.