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In a Google Blog posting this week, the search giant has announced a major change to its search algorithms in the United States which the company says will affect about one out of every nine queries.

Google says the change, which has been in the works for several months, is designed to reduce the rankings of low-quality sites which simply copy content from other websites or are simply not that useful while increasing the rankings for higher quality sites which feature original information and content.

In the post, Google Fellow Amit Singhal and Principle Engineer Matt Cutts, explain the changes to the search algorithms happen quite regularly but are typically so subtle that searchers seldom even notice the difference.

Because this week's changes will affect a significant percentage of searches , the company decided to notify the blogosphere that changes were afoot. Singhal and Cutts says that Google's goal remains the same, to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible.

"Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does." wrote Singhal and Cutts.

Canadians won't see any changes in the near term as the changes have only been implemented in the U.S. Google says it roll the changes out elsewhere over time.
 

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I look forward to seeing these changes in Canada. As a grad student I do a lot of research and use Google, but I often have to wade through a dozen websites that copy a Wikipedia article or an answers.com article word-for-word on a subject I'm searching for information on, before I get to the meat. With some of my research I've found some of the more junior students use the mirror websites as sources for papers and claim they are legitimate because they're "not Wikipedia". In at least one case I saw a source used that was identical to a Wikipedia article word-for-word.

I look forward to these sites losing their page ranking.
 

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mjjl,

If you use Chrome as your browser there is an extension that allows you to block sites that are repeat offenders of having spammy content.

It's not as good as Google filtering them all out themselves, but if you see "repeat offenders" when you're doing a lot of searches on a certain subject area, this may be of use.
 

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Canadians won't see any changes in the near term as the changes have only been implemented in the U.S. Google says it roll the changes out elsewhere over time.
I usually use the U.S. site anyway, but I know that Google uses a lot of IP-based geofiltering and that Canadians trying to access the U.S. site either get redirected to Google.ca or get a generic "global" version of Google that omits U.S.-specific doodles and other features.

Does anyone know if Google U.S. (and their U.S.-specific algorithm changes) will be accessible from Canada without any fancy proxy workarounds?
 

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Well, can't say I'm overly impressed just yet. Try doing a Google search for printer drivers for a Canon printer: the first page was almost all junk sites (driversdown.com, alldrivers.com, even one that fooled me because I didn't look very closely - canoncanada.custhelp.com, etc.). I think there was one actual usa.canon.com link.

They've got some work to do to work around these link bait sites.
 

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Nuje, was it .com or .ca?
 

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Well, kudos to Google and their algorithm for fixing things on the fly.

Honestly, on Friday night, I did a google search for "canon mf4690 xp drivers", and usa.canon.com wasn't anywhere in the first 10 links. I just did it again (it was still a "recent search" in my Safari Google search box), and now you're right - usa.canon.com and the link I need shows at the top of the list.

That's impressive!
 
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