From the start, Google’s aim has been to bring the most relevant results for any search query in the fastest possible time.
Even in the early days, the relevance of their results brought it to the forefront of the search market and has since made Google financial and global success.
However, with Google being by far the search market leader, being found in their listings for a given search term is extremely important, especially for businesses that deal solely online. The dominance of Google in the market has now led to a European Commission antitrust investigation which will determine whether Google has intentionally lowered the ranking of competing services whilst affording its own product preferential placement.
Google’s response is that they are working closely with the European Commission in order to answer any questions they have. They have also release a list of their core principles:
- To answer search queries as accurately and quickly as possible. Google has always been very quick, and Google Instant has now brought immediate results even as you type. Google’s success has primarily come because of the relevance of its search results to whatever the user searches for.
- To build Google for users, not websites. By concentrating on showing the results the user wants to see, Google have been able to attract and hold their share of the search market. Only by making their websites more relevant and interesting can website owners hope to achieve a first page listing.
- To be open about paid listings. Sponsored listings have always been labelled as such. Organic listings should be chosen based on Google’s algorithm and not by any intervention to promote a website unnaturally. To promote a website would cause people to lose confidence in the results.
- To be transparent. Google have been fairly good in given people information about its search results, using services such as Google Trends, Webmaster Central, Diagnostic Tools and its own blogs. At the same time they must protect the integrity of their search algorithm. To release the specific details of how pages are ranked will allow people to find ways to “play” the system.
- Change is critical. By changing the services it provides, the way it provides results and even the algorithm it uses to generate its results, Google has been able to stay ahead of the competition by constantly improving the user experience.
I hope that the European Commission find nothing untoward in the way Google generates its organic listings because the implications of unnaturally promoting websites will be huge both for the search engine and its users.