Two recent moves by Google should go a long way towards improving searches and cutting down on bad results. The first was Google’s change in their algorithm that is designed to reduce the appearance of content farms and other low-quality content sites in search results. And the second is the release of the Personal Blocklist extension for Chrome.
All Google users will get the benefits of the first move. But users of the Chrome browser will need to download and install the Personal Blocklist in order to improve searches through that method.
The Personal Blocklist is just what it says. Using this extension makes it possible to block sites from showing up in your search results.
Once the Personal Blocklist extension is installed in Chrome, a special red hand icon shows up to the right of the address bar in Chrome. Clicking this icon brings up the settings options for the extension.
However, the main way to use Personal Blocklist is within Google searches. Whenever one does a Google search, a new "Block 'site name'" link appears in results right next to the Cached link at the bottom of every result. Clicking the block link adds the site to the blocked list and, from that point onward, results from that blocked site will never appear in Google search results.
When Google searches could potentially include results from blocked sites, a message stating “some results were removed by the Personal Blocklist Chrome extension” is displayed at the bottom of the results page and clicking the Show link next to this message will display the results from those blocked sites, with the potentially blocked sites highlighted within the results.
By clicking on the red hand icon to the right of the address bar, I could see a listing of all the sites I had blocked and could unlock or edit the site listing. By editing the listing, a user can add a prefix -- so instead of blocking all of uselessgarbagesite.com you could just block malware.uselessgarbagesite.com.
It is also possible in the settings area to import and export lists of blocked sites, which seems to be useful for sharing lists of sites to block with friends and colleagues. As is the case with many Google apps and extensions, some data is shared with Google. In fact, Google has said that they are comparing the listings of blocked sites with their own algorithm changes to stop low quality content farms.
Google’s Personal Blocklist is a simple extension, but one that has already proven useful to me. For the common searches that I do, I no longer have to scroll through the listings of results that I know are useless, and anything that improves search efficiency is OK in my book.
To install the Personal Blocklist extension, go here.