Google’s New Site Blocking Tools and Customer Experience

Fahrenheit Marketing in Design

Today Google announced a new site blocking feature that allows signed in users to block sites from appearing in their search results. This is essentially the same functionality found in the Personal Blocklist extension only its now ported to Google as a whole, regardless of your browser.

This process is simple for users in the sense that if they go to a site and aren’t impressed with the information, they can block it and never visit it again. This capability however presents a new set of challenges for site owners who can now lose a customer for life if they give a poor user experience on any of their pages. I know that may sound dramatic but its the new reality for webmasters dealing with an increasingly frustrated search audience.

Will Someone Actually Block My Site?

Yes. If someone isn’t exactly impressed by the content on your site, they can click a link that will block future results from your domain after they return to their results. Of course you would have to present a very negative experience as opposed to something like a higher price point, lack of availability (ie: out of stock item) or failing to match a very niche query. In those instances I think the general public will not perceive your site as a bad experience rather your site was simply unable to match their specific needs at that time.

Possible reasons someone would block a site:
– Immediate pop ups or redirects: Pop ups can include traditional ads or chat / help screens that immediately display when someone lands on a page
– Thin content: While Google is trying to combat low quality content, pages that are just sentences long still show up for some queries
– Low quality UGC: This includes sites full of un-moderated submissions, article mills, and even general question sites
– Very high level information targeted for very niche queries
– Content that doesn’t match the query: This is more of a Google problem, not a webmaster problem
– Promising content and not delivering it: Promising pricing information in the title and meta tags to rank for price searches but not listing prices on the page
– Content that is difficult to read: Pages full of ads

Google is sending a clear message to Webmasters: Produce quality content because you can lose out on opportunities not only through our algorithm but now users themselves