Should Google Remove Q&A Sites From Search Results?

Nov 29, 2010 • 8:17 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Aaron Wall named Q&A sites spam of the year in Google.

We all know Google doesn't want search results in their search index. Google says they do not want to display a link to a search engine's search results as a search result for a query. Makes sense. So Google says you should block your internal search engine from being crawled. At the same time, tag clouds I believe fall under this as well.

Currently, Q&A sites like Mahalo and others do pass the check and are dominating Google's search results. The question is, should they? Aaron Wall thinks they shouldn't.

In Matt Cutts PubCon talk, which I summarized at Search Engine Land I believe he may have mentioned these types of sites. I can't remember explicitly, but I am pretty sure he said it was a debate at Google on if they should keep them in the index or drop them out or simply lower their rankings. I believe Matt felt he personally didn't want them to rank well in the index, but I believe he didn't specifically say that.

So what do you think? Should Google drop them out? Take my poll:

Forum discussion at Sphinn.

Previous story: Google Scares Sites Not To Link Out



11/29/2010 02:10 pm

Yikes. I get so much out of Q&A sites in Google results. The trick is to know who to trust, how to read/parse through the info for what is useful, and when in doubt, back up the info with other resources. Advice from folks in different fields or locations has been helpful in so many situations - fixing a digital camera or broken laptop, getting advice from other parents, understanding medical conditions. Reference plays a big part, and so does community-generated Q&A. Of course, disclosure, I work for a Q&A site. But still. On a personal level, I do believe that this is an important and valuable tool for Google searchers.

Jami Broom

11/29/2010 02:26 pm

If a user is using questions words in their keyword search phrase, yes, Q & A's should be included.


11/29/2010 02:57 pm

I'm totally against Q&A websites. Usually they're used out of purpose. For spamming, cloaking and other methods for them to gain a lot of money from advertising and not actually helping the users, what the general idea of such websites is.

Nathaniel Deal

11/29/2010 04:51 pm

Yes, I think they should leave that up to Ask & Yahoo.

Michael Martinez

11/29/2010 07:16 pm

This is a two-edged sword. I must be the only person who remembers what it was like to type a question into a search engine BEFORE such sites existed. You'd end up with random results, often forum or blog posts where people were just rambling. Worse, you might end up with a Wikipedia article (where the facts change on a daily basis). The real deficiency with the Q-and-A sites is that they (like Wikipedia) are not vetted by experts and you get stuck with whatever search-optimized crap is easiest to place in the pages. The solution is not to do away with Q-and-A sites from the search indexes, but rather to improve the algorithms to bypass all these consumer-generated-content farms and drill down to real authorities.

Ben Pfeiffer

11/29/2010 07:41 pm

Aaron's strong bias against sites like is pretty well known. So this declaration is not surprising. Not ALL Q&A sites are spam, and they often serve a niche of searchers who value the opinions and expert advice you see on higher quality Q&A sites. Often times Q&A results are the highest quality content you see in a search result set when mixed with exact match domain spam, brand sites, etc...


11/30/2010 07:47 pm

Should Google remove Q & A sites from search results? The short answser: it depends. It depends on what the user is searching for. It also depends on how they phrase their search. It also depends on the quality of the particular "Q & A site." A Yahoo Answers page, for example, can sometimes be exactly what the user is looking for: an answer to a question. Low quality scraper sites, however, that don't add any value, should be dropped. It is a very subjective thing, though. That is Google's job to figure out. :-)

Archana J

12/02/2010 04:37 am

Q&A websites are useful when a user perform searches on Google. The discussions on these Q&A website help out searchers find solutions for their searches(questions). However it is the task of the administrators of these Q&A websites to keep it clean and get rid of spamming users. Hence i believe Q&A websites should be included in the search results, but Google should take care of those spamming Q&A websites.

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