Latest rumors have it that Google may start counting the accuracy of information as a ranking signal. According to a paper published by researchers within the company, it may now value accuracy over the quality of backlinks.
Google is working on a system where it can determine the trustworthiness of a page not by who is linking to it, or how many incoming links it has, but by the number of facts it contains.
How it works
A score, called a Knowledge-Based Trust score, would be computed for each page by cross-referencing the content with facts stored in Google’s Knowledge Vault. The Knowledge Vault is a database of 2.8 billion facts extracted from the web, and is the primary source of information behind the boxes that appear on the right side of some searches.
The more facts contained on a page, the better it will rank. In instances where few facts are found on a page, Google will check the accuracy of other content contained on the site to determine how well it can be trusted overall.
So far in test conditions, Knowledge-Based Trust score has been able to reliably predict the trustworthiness of millions of websites. This sounds impressive on paper, and I’m sure the SEO community would appreciate an alternative to links as a ranking signal. However, a lot of questions remain unanswered.
For one, not every website exists to report facts, so how will trustworthiness be determined in those cases? Well that’s when the research paper says Knowledge-Based Trust isn’t necessarily a replacement for current ranking signals, but a supplement to them.
There is also cause for concern for pages written around new technology and new discoveries, with information that hasn’t yet been entered into Google’s Knowledge Graph. If Google started to rely on Knowledge-Based trust to rank web pages, would it then focus additional effort on revising and updating the Knowledge Graph?