Two weeks ago Google launched a new “Block” feature in their search results, allowing searchers to personalize their results by keeping unwanted sites out of future search results. Since the March 10th launch, sightings of this new feature have more closely resembled the illusive Pacific Northwest’s Sasquatch than an aggressive feature launch. The conservative approach tells me that Google is doing a limited and heavily monitored roll-out, as they are apt to do. As they monitor the signals, I’m confident these signals will be considered when trying to identify spam sites that don’t deserve to rank well, but are. It seems Google is willing to use any and all signals (such as social signals), to a degree, to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Today, however, I finally witnessed the block feature out in the open. While researching Google’s new ‘Think Quarterly’ magazine and website, I stumbled on an example of what the option. However, it only showed up on one result (see image) on the page, and only showed up this one time. Further searching, even of the same term, showed nothing. Throughout the day I’ve kept an eye open for it but have yet to see it again. But I DID see it, I swear!
So, what is the new block feature?
As you do a keyword search on Google you likely run into a site that you don’t think accurately represents your search. Perhaps you’re researching a topic and keep running into a site that you know doesn’t contain the information you need, so just block it and it won’t show up in future searches. Of course, you’ll have to be logged in to block the site and to enjoy the customized results, but if you’re like me then you’re probably logged into your Google account most of the day.
Also, you can manage your blocked sites. At the bottom of your search results page simply click on the ‘show blocked results’ link. Once there, you can see all the sites you’ve previously blocked, remove the block from a site or manually add a site to be blocked.
That’s it! I’m interested to see how this feature evolves over time as I’m certain Google will continue to include personalization features for searches.