The Google Block…nuk, nuk, nuk

Recently, Google added the ability to block sites from your personalized search results. This allows you remove a site from your future related searches when you encounter a site that you don’t like or is spammy.

How it works: After you have signed in to your Google account:

  1. The option to block a site appears when you click a search result and then navigate back to the search results page. Click the “Block” link next to that result to block all pages within the site’s entire domain.
  2. Pages within that domain won’t appear in your standard search results as long as you’re signed in. Whenever your search results would have included pages from that domain, you’ll see a message at the top or bottom of the page reminding you that the domain was blocked. Sometimes you may have to search on a new term (rather than simply refreshing your browser) before the pages will disappear from your results.
  3. Add or remove blocked sites using the Blocked Sites page New window, which is accessible via your Search Settings page when you’re signed in. On this page, you can also add blocked sites individually. To help remember why you blocked a particular site, hover over the URL and click View Details to see more context.

Google also states that the blocked sites are only available on Google.com if your language preference in English and will only appear next to some types of results and only in the "Everything" view (not in Google Images or others).

At first glance, this looks to be a very useful feature from Google. I personally love the idea of laying the smack-down on sites that really bother me. For instance… sites that still use popups, are full of spam or ads, or are otherwise useless. I can honestly say that I applaud Goggle’s efforts to bring quality back to the web and how they have taken very real and tangible steps to combat the problem of webspam (SERP spam) that has plagued us for so long.

One obvious question arises of though; Google states clearly that "By blocking a site, only your own search results will be directly affected. However, Google may use blocking information to improve the ranking of search results overall." Exactly how will Google use this signal to improve the overall rankings? and how much of an impact will it have on a site’s rankings? It seems waaay too easy to game the results of this feature.

Clearly Google and thousands of blackhat SEOs see the potential to game these results? How does Google plan to mitigate the issues associated with people doing this? Perhaps Google is so confident with the results of the Panda and Farmer updates that they believe people understand that the future of the internet is the "organic web?" It will be interesting to see if they keep this feature of not. We may find that the new blocking strategy is about as effective as blocking Moe’s eye poke. At first it seems to be highly effective…until he blindsides you with a an ear grab or nose slap.

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