KBT. What does the acronym stand for? You may not know the answer now, but those three letters may mean the future of Google’s page rank system and the way we see online search results.
A team of Google researchers last month released a white paper describing a new system to rank Web pages called Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT) score. The new system proposes to sort search results based on the factual content of a Web page rather than the number of incoming links. While the search engine giant hasn’t made a change to its algorithm yet, which includes a host of known and unknown factors, news that it was exploring a new system has caused scuttlebutt across the Internet.
Science magazine New Scientist explains the new system “works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the Internet. Facts the Web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.”
Technology blog Gizmodo and Slate.com’s emerging technologies blog “Future Tense” both highlight Google’s impetus behind the proposed change, citing the fact that misinformation appears online daily and it can be hard to decipher fact from fiction. And under the current Google algorithm, if a ton of people link to a page full of erroneous information, it can quickly rise to the top of search results.
What this potential change means in terms of Search Engine Optimization and Online Reputation Management (ORM) efforts is enormous, but questions still remain about how accurate the Google Knowledge Vault is in determining fact. Ultimately the old adage still rings true – content is king. Now more than ever, it’s important for marketing and public relations professionals to build the cornerstone of any SEO strategy on good, compelling and factual information that is relevant and useful.
As we wait for the truth to set us free, what do you think about a potential change in Google’s algorithm and receiving search results based in part on fact rather than the number of incoming links?
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