Has Google’s search quality gone down the drain?

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion on how Google has ranked low quality content farms and websites filled with ads over websites that contain higher quality content. People who own these content farms and ad sites have got sophisticated with their SEO methods and techniques allowing them to consistently rank their websites higher than genuine authoritative websites. Google has said that it will get tough with these content farms that are setup primarily to make money via pay per click ads.

But, it looks like things haven’t improved much. For example, search for the text “cricket world cup 2011” and look at the sites that are listed first on the search engine result page. The very first website is a site fully loaded with Adsense ads and other affiliate links. The fact that this website’s domain name matches the exact search phrase could have boosted its rankings to claim the number one spot. This is absurd!

The official website of the ICC Cricket World Cup is listed on a distant seventh place!

cricket_world_cup_google_search

Many of you have heard about the new search engine Blekko that has made headlines in the recent past. Blekko promises better quality searches using slash tags. In a nutshell a slash tag allows one to refine and narrow their search. For example, instead of just searching for the term “ipad 2”, you could search it with a slash tag. For example, “ipad 2 /techblogs”. In this example, we have narrowed the search to only technology blogs.

So, I decided to use the slash tag ‘”cricket” in my blekko search and performed the following search: “cricket world cup 2011 /cricket”.

The results returned by blekko were much better in quality than the Google search results. Blekko gave importance to high profile websites such as cricinfo in the search results. But, Blekko too listed the official website at the exact seventh spot as Google.

So what do you think? Has Google’s search quality gone down the drain? Love to hear your thoughts.