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Google takes on fake news with latest algorithm

Google have released a new update which is designed to tackle the uprising of fake news and spam pages.

Known as the Google Fred Algorithm, the update is a reaction to allegations that Google had been spreading false news and statements.

Due to the nature of its search engine which allows for snippets, certain featured snippets have contained information which has not been entirely true, which means that when people may pose certain questions or look up certain topics, the snippets – which have not been completed by Google, but which nevertheless appear on the site as they have been created by Google users – provide them with answers that are actually false. Some may be unintentional, although there have been many instances of spam snippets as well, and that’s not to mention the fake news articles which have appeared on a worryingly regular frequency.

The Google Fred Algorithm tackles these issues and other related problems. At present, the basic principles of Google are to make pages primarily for users rather than search engines; to avoid deceiving users; to avoid using negative tactics designed to boost search engine rankings; and to make your website stand out for positive reasons.

Google’s specific guidelines instruct users to avoid automatically generating content; participating in link schemes; creating pages which have very little or no original content; cloaking; using sneaky redirects, hidden text or links, doorway pages and scraped content; participating in any affiliate programmes which do not add sufficient value to the web page; loading pages which contain irrelevant keywords; creating pages which encourage or trigger malicious behavioural tactics like phishing, installing viruses, trojans, badware and other malfunctional or harmful software; abusing rich snippets markup; and sending any automated queries to Google itself.

Good practices such as monitoring sites for any hacking and removing hacked content ASAP should it appear, as well as preventing and removing any user-generated spam on your website are encouraged, especially in conjunction with anti-virus software which your computer may have.

These principles, guidelines and practices essentially form the basis for the Google Fred Algorithm, although they are particularly targeted towards those sites which may cause problems and/or do not follow Google’s basic rules. These are sites which possess only minimal original content and are loaded with advertisements and/or affiliate ads. Certain local business websites, which have these features in great abundance whilst providing little in the way of news could also be affected by the new update, unless they make changes to the layout and content of the site.

The update has only recently been announced, so it will take time to fully understand the potential impact of the Google Fred Algorithm. However, these are the goals of the Algorithm as stated by Google, and over the next few weeks, users will be able to identify how things change with regards to fake news, spam pages and snippets containing false information being prominent on search engine listings, as well as how – if at all – other business websites have to change aspects of their marketing strategy due to the stricter enforcing of guidelines contained within the Algorithm.

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