Google Is Looking Into Ways To Rank Sites Based On Accuracy Of Information

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In the future, Google may value the accuracy of your content more than the quality of your backlinks, according to a paper (PDF) recently published by researchers within the company.

New Scientist reports that Google is working on a system where it can determine the trustworthiness of a page not by who is linking to it, or how many incoming links it has, but by the number of facts it contains.

A score, called a Knowledge-Based Trust score, would be computed for each page by cross referencing the content with facts stored in Google’s Knowledge Vault. The Knowledge Vault is a database of 2.8 billion facts extracted from the web, and is the primary source of information behind theboxes that appear on the right side of some searches.

The more facts contained on a page, the better it will rank. In instances where few facts are found on a page, Google will check the accuracy of other content contained on the site to determine how well it can be trusted overall.

In early tests, the research team says the Knowledge-Based Trust score has been able to reliably predict the trustworthiness of millions of websites. This sounds impressive on paper, and I’m sure the SEO community would appreciate an alternative to links as a ranking signal, but this concept leaves me with a lot of questions.

For example, not every website exists to report facts, so how will trustworthiness be determined in those cases? Well that’s when the research paper says Knowledge-Based Trust isn’t necessarily a replacement for current ranking signals, but a supplement to them.

I’m also concerned about pages written around new technology and new discoveries, with information that hasn’t yet been entered into Google’s Knowledge Graph. If Google started to rely on Knowledge-Based trust to rank web pages, would it then focus additional effort on revising and updating the Knowledge Graph?

That question, and many others, aren’t answered in the report — but I suspect more information will surface as Google continues its testing.

Matt Southern
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • Great! This will REALLY help my coloring pages and kids crafts get noticed. / sarcasm

  • Hi matt,
    Great short informative post thanks for sharing.
    As you said trust score will not be replacement for incoming link.
    may be additionally used along links.
    Expecting many more good posts….

  • If this will take effect then penguin will be dead. hope this will help us to rank well.

  • I believe this is going to be a long process for Google, there are rich unindexed local data especially in other countries like the Philippines and the entire South East Asia, that data alone is not yet in their knowledge graph so validating the data to ensure accuracy of information is at present not possible. I agree that more questions will eventually come up once more tests are done.

  • Yes, now this is a clear sign from the google. If you want to stay in the online market, you have to make your website more powerful with a good amount of quality content .

  • I agree with Matt this does seem a bit off. The more I think about it from an “extremist” perspective (links going away and this coming in) the more it seems like a joke if you really think a devolution like this could occur. How do you rank one page over the other if it has the exact same facts and no inaccuracies? Let’s take Onion Soup Recipes into account.

    I am a bit disappointed that some commenters already seem to have bought into this.

    Honestly the Paper itself’s abstract includes what I would call one of the most obvious “Maddensims” I have ever read: “A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy” <— WOW pay that scientist more!

    I feel this could become an easy signal (and useful) if used to pre-qualify text content for worthiness, eliminating that which has over a certain threshold of verifiable lies or false information. Next problem then rises: one man's murdered is another's revolutionary. 33,128 item C's in Category A's claim to be the top-selling model. The list goes on… Let's not even get into political, religious, or other extremism type content.

  • Thanks for sharing, Matt.
    To be honest, I am waiting for Google to forget the links since years as I see tons of manipultive sites. But the question is: how will Google know if a site has value or not if the quality content is just a small piece of information and an interesting opinion? (For example this page.)

  • Great, this might help newbies (like me) get better ranked in google searches. It would be great if google starts ranking sites on the basis of accuracy of information and not by the backlinks.

  • I’m quite puzzled here about what will happen to the small business and local business websites like phone repair shops, florists, and local restaurant websites? What ranking factors will they be using for those? I’m pretty sure that social signals will have their say here, but how can they implement the knowledge vault to those kind of websites?

  • But will there any update on the “Page Rank”? Either the page rank for all websites to be kept as zero, be it an old domain or new. Also have heard Google would start screening websites for mobile usability starting next month. Site rankings would be dropped if it’s not mobile portable.

  • Maia

    With the likes of Google Translate, I’m not sure this is such a good idea (haha). And, believe it or not, much of fact is based on opinion and perspective (look at history!), which makes it difficult to discern what’s true and what isn’t. I suppose we’ll just have to hope that Google is run (and continues to be run) by responsible people who understand what this kind of change is going to do to society… Worst possible case is that it’s taken over by a maniac and we all get brainwashed (okay, maybe not, but if it’s possible, then it’s possible).