Google Users Can Block Search Results to Cut Spam
Google March 10 added a new tool to let users block Websites they don't like when searching on Google.com, part of the company's evolving push to give its 1 billion-plus searchers more control over their user experience.
The search engine is now showing an option next to the cached feature in search results to let users block a particular domain in the future.
When a user clicks to hide those results, they'll get a confirmation message saying it will not show results from the domain again.
The next time a user searches and a blocked page would have appeared, users will see a message notifying them that the results have been blocked at the top or bottom of the results page, with location based on the relevance of the blocked pages.
Websites that users block are connected with their Google Account, which means users must sign in before they can confirm a block. Google has added an "undo" button in case users change their minds after blocking a domain.
Users may view and manage a list of their blocked Websites in a new settings page, which they can access by clicking on the "Manage blocked sites" link that appears when they block a domain, or in search settings.
The new feature is rolling out now on Google.com in English for people using Chrome 9+, Internet Explore 8+ and Firefox 3.5+, though Google will be expanding to new regions, languages and browsers.
This personalized search editor of sorts should come in handy for offensive Websites such as porn domains, or results from content farms and other low-quality content.
The option is also the latest in a string of moves Google has made to block unsavory or unwanted content, part of the company's move to cut down on search spam.
Google Feb. 24 initiated an algorithm change that pushes down low-quality Websites in its search engine.
A couple weeks before that, Google launched what is ostensibly a precursor to this new block domain tool with Personal Blocklist Chrome extension, which lets users click the "block url" button to block a site so they won't see results from that domain again in their search results on Google.com.
Just as with the Blocklist extension, Google said it's not currently using the domains people block with its new Website blocker as a signal in ranking. However, it has left the door open to the possibility of improving search results in the future.