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Ask HN: Declining quality of Google search results
16 points by vonseel on Jan 27, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments
Recently, I have noticed spammy / mined content sites are appearing in search results more often on Google (for any topic). Some examples are searching for programming questions / answers - usually SO is ranked near the top, lately sites have been mirroring SO content and are getting mixed in near the top. Next time I see the URL I will write it down. This has also happened to me while searching for open source packages; I found some spammy looking sites farming Github repo metadata / npm index metadata and those were near top results.

Has anyone else had an issue with this?

This has been discussed in several HN threads recently. Often some insight can be gained by following the money. SO doesn't carry Google advertising, so there is no way for Google to profit when people go there. The spammy and other low-quality sites that persistently show up near the top of Google's search results invariably carry tons of Google ad boxes.

Of course Googlers claim that there is a firewall between search quality and ad revenue sides of the business, and, from the perspective of a Google engineer, that might actually appear to be the case.

I seem to be getting results that are largely tied to what I've searched for previously (based on their algorithms for past searching). It may have worked for a while, but I now seem to be getting inaccurate results for a lot of things.

Like if I want to set something up on Ubuntu Desktop, all the server-based solutions will come up, even with desktop as a keyword.

DuckDuckGo does deliver reasonable results though.

One trick I've found is to do a reddit search instead of a google search for anything where you want advice, or general tips.

For example searching google for "how to start a garden" is going to give you a lot of junk like wikihow, etc.

But if you search reddit you'll get actual advice from actual gardeners.

I think "declining quality" needs to be quantified over time. There are so many spammy sites - basically completely and totalled scraped sites (often from SO) - but it's not new. I also don't notice more than I used to - it's about the same for me. They come, they go.

The biggest one that I don't get is BigResource.com - they are nothing except a search engine yet Google loves them.

Examples ?

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