Trustworthiness may soon become a new Google ranking factor – a research team is currently working on it. Until now Google defines the quality of web content mainly based on popularity signals such as external links (backlinks) and the browsing history. The new factor trustworthiness, on the contrary, is based on the factual correctness of web content.
The new algorithm counts the number of incorrect facts within a page. A source is rated as more trustworthy if it contains very few or no incorrect facts. Each page is rated based on a Knowledge-based Trust (KBT) score. This score defines the probability that the facts on a page are correct. As a basis, Google has been working on a huge database of facts in the past months: The Knowledge Vault.
With this development, Google prioritizes truth over popularity. Pages that have a lot of readers but do not contain true information will be punished with lower ranking positions. Such an algorithm update will lead to significant changes on search engine results pages. The comprehensive experiment conducted by the research team has shown that many less popular websites achieve a high KBT, while very popular websites like gossip sites and forums have a low KBT.
According to the research paper, the new factual algorithm is very promising. At this point, however, there is no information about when it will be launched.