March 26th 2015

Google Searches to Sort Fact from Fiction

(what this means for your website)

Over the past few weeks the words knowledge-based trust have been thrown around the internet as wildly as Solange Knowles fists in an elevator.

The reason behind this panicked frenzy?

Google is looking to change how your website is ranked in their search results again.

By using a mind-boggling algorithm, Google will check if the content in your website is accurate and factual. The more trustworthy your site, the higher in the search results it goes…and the more traffic you get.

The reason for this research is likely due to the abundance of high ranking sites that spout dubious, albeit entertaining news and information across the internet.

In fact, a paper published by Google Inc. states that ‘gossip websites… have high PageRank scores, but would not generally be considered reliable’ and then admits ‘less popular websites nevertheless have very accurate information.’

So the main drive behind this move is to make sure that search results return quality information not popular-pap.

Knowledge-Based Trust Issues

So how will Google searches determine if the information in your website is accurate?

Erogenous signals, no sorry….Endogenous signals!  (Better not mix those two up otherwise search results could get awkward).

Apparently, these endogenous signals consider ‘the correctness of the factual information provided by a web source.’

I’m not going to make any attempt to explain the calculations behind this algorithm, however in simple terms, it looks as though experiments are being conducted to extract information from a web page and then cross-check it with Google’s vast knowledge vault of facts.

Once your content is assessed on accuracy, your site is given a Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT) score. If the score is good, your website is considered trustworthy. Trusted facts = trusted website.

I don’t know about you, but this raised a whole load of questions in my mind.

Just because Google’s knowledge vault says something is a fact, does it make it a fact?  If a website dares to challenge a ‘fact’ do they risk being demoted in search results? And I’m sure you are probably thinking of at least 2 more to add to that.

However, I guess it’s important to remember that this is only in test phase and other improvements and adjustments will be included.

Yet with the effort Google is putting into this system of fact-checking, it would be no surprise if they did roll out this criteria so that searchers could access not just the most relevant information, but the most trustworthy too.

How could this impact on your website?

Google isn’t suddenly shaking its Etch-a-Sketch of algorithms and starting again with knowledge-based trust. This is a new metric, an addition, to the already existing ways that Google examines your website. So if you’re already implementing search engine optimisation3, you will still see the benefits of that within search results.

However, it can’t hurt to double check that the information you provide in your website content is indeed accurate and relevant.

The paper published by Google researchers often mentions the process of assessing ‘triple correctness.’

It looks to extract information based on three factors; a real world entity subject, a predicate and an object or answer. An example on a business website could be [Bank of England; Base Rate; 0.5%]

If your website is stating [Bank of England; Base Rate; 5%] possibly because of a typo, you may be stamped with a big fat DON’T TRUST by Google. Plus, you may give your readers a brief panic attack.

With this in mind, it would be best double-check any facts or statements in your content for accuracy. Don’t forget that information changes, so we would have to keep facts regularly updated to avoid being penalised by this new system… if it decides to make an appearance.

Don’t worry if your website has very few facts, apparently Google aren’t planning to penalise sources for this; as long as any facts they do have are correct.

But a word to the wise… this isn’t the time to add in a page dedicated to facts that have absolutely no relevance to your business.

Google will be including checks that look at the major topics of your website, including the website name, description and the about us page. This way they can determine if the facts you provide are actually relevant to your website users or if you are just trying out a dodgy SEO tactic.

So don’t state facts that are irrelevant to the main topic of your site or you’ll get nicked by the SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position) police.

Granted, information does change and what was true one day, can be false another. So if this update does take place, let’s hope Google takes this into consideration otherwise websites that fall behind on updating facts, will get left behind.

With new changes on their way for search engine rankings (including websites ranked on mobile-friendliness) we, at Cocoonfxmedia are continuing to work hard in our new Lichfield office, to ensure that these adjustments are implemented into our SEO strategies.

To make the most of search engines and bring in more traffic to your site, you may wish to take advantage of our search engine optimisation service by contacting us here.

We would also love to hear your opinion about Google’s knowledge-based trust (KBT) plan! Do you think it’s a great idea or too ambitious?

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