CYBERSPACE—Despite findings by German analytics company Searchmetrics.com that four porn sites—Siteslike.com, Youjizz.com, Perfectgirls.net and Keezmovies.com—were, among many other mainstream sites, big rankings winners (in the U.K.) following Google’s February roll-out—and more recent international English language roll-out—of the new search engine algorithm known as Panda, the inference that Panda may have a sweet tooth for porn is probably a premature evaluation.
For one thing, some webmasters are questioning whether the evaluation by Searchmetrics may itself have been a little premature, in that it apparently began before the introduction of Panda in the U.K. But Panda is also an evolution in progress, with new changes being introduced practically on the fly. For instance, data culled from the new site blocking feature introduced in March, which, according to the Google blog, allows people to “block particular domains from your future search results,” will now be selectively incorporated into Google algorithms.
However, the new incorporated data will only be used in “some high-confidence situations,” presumably meaning situations where Google is confident that sites are not being “blocked” on purpose by competitors. It is unclear what the end result of the “blocked site” assessment will be, but it could be a situation in which Google is confident that a significant enough percentage of surfers are blocking certain sites—“pornographic or of generally low quality” ones are specifically mentioned—that it begins to penalize those sites in terms of their overall rankings.
What that means for porn sites in general if anything remains to be seen, but Google is nothing if not clear that it will continues testing and refining the recent change, even though the company is already saying that testing of the new algorithm shows it to be “very accurate at detecting site quality.” How that has been determined so quickly is also unclear, to say the least.
What does seem clear is that Google is determined to increase user feedback as an important data point in the ongoing improvement of its algorithm, which means the company will of necessity integrate increasingly sophisticated methods of divining the mindset of the surfer by means that do not necessarily depend upon conscious feedback by the individual. Don’t worry, though; it won’t hurt until it’s too late.