Anyone who spends a lot of time searching on Google knows how annoying it is when the results you really don’t want to see keep clogging up the top of the page. Chances are that many of these sites have been hit in the latest content farm update (codename: Panda), but today Google announced that they will be adding functionality to allow logged in users to manually block sites that they don’t want to see from their search results.
It’s not been completely rolled out yet and I’m not currently seeing it on any of my .co.uk searches, but I don’t doubt for a second that it will be a worldwide feature in the next couple of weeks and although I’m sure it could be a useful feature for the average user, I’m more interested in how this can be useful for the more advanced user or what implications it could have for the SEO and internet marketing industries.
This kind of self-policing is an interesting move for Google and I’m sure that many users will find that it helps them find the results that they want rather than what the search engine has deemed the most relevant. I’m all for it for the average user, but where could it go?
Possible SEO Implications
We all know that Google will never tell you the whole story – if they did, they’d make my job a hell of a lot easier – but I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine that this will become one of the many ranking factors the search engine uses in the future. In many ways, this could potentially become the new PageRank. I’m just thinking out loud here, but I don’t think it’s too far out of the realms of possibility that sites which get blocked from a lot of SERPs could start to suffer a little in terms of search positions.
It’s not there yet and for right now, I think that this is another good move for usability in the world’s largest search engine, but I’ll be keeping a beady eye on how this one progresses.
What do you think? Is this likely to become a ranking signal in the near future or am I reading a little too much into this?