Google’s Danny Sullivan explained on Twitter that Google cannot tell the accuracy of content. For that reason, the accuracy of content is not a ranking factor. According to Danny Sullivan, Google relies on signals that ‘align with relevancy of topic and authority’.
Popularity also isn’t a ranking factor
In another tweet, Danny Sullivan said that Googles does not rely on the popularity of a web page to determine it’s authority:
That doesn't say popularity = authority. Not, again, speaking as someone who work within Google Search, does it. That would be a far too simplistic signal to use & wouldn't apply for the myriad of queries we handle, 15% of which are new….— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) September 9, 2019
I was asked how we verify accuracy. I replied we don't and can't but look to signals about authority. You then said that means popularity. I said it doesn't. And, in fact, issues with featured snippet can happen with both "popular" and not-so-popular sites….— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) September 9, 2019
The popularity of a web page is not a good indicator when it comes to new topics:
15% of queries new each day is relevant because if we only used popularity, we'd be hard pressed to figure out what content to show for searches that come out of nowhere esp for some breaking entirely new topic where no popularity of much of anything has been set…— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) September 9, 2019