Friday, April 9, 2010

Is Google Search really as unbiased as they claim?

Google is a corporation that manages to an EBITDA for their shareholders, but ultimately there is no oversight to how they operate and screen their search results.  In other words, Google and Google alone decides on what results show up and where. So this leads me to another question.  Is Google really as unbiased as they claim they are?

Google operates on an automated algorithm that has rules and calculations that dictate how search results rank, but it is also well known that there is a "human" element that can over ride some of these features.  That human element is helpful to catch the items that the algorithm missed, and help refine the algorithm as individuals become more clever with their black hat or gray hat SEO.

But what if an individual has a relationship to that human element?  You can in theory alter search results and censor items you do not wish to be made public and shape how the public thinks.  In many ways this has already been done for decades by radio and television but it is even more dangerous when over 80% of individuals in the United States use Google as their primary search and trust what is shown is factual.

One example of this possibly happening is with my own blog.  A prominent SEO expert wrote a scathing blog article about a typical acquisition process that was purely misleading and harmful for the laymen who for lack of a better term wouldn't know any better.  Having myself been in the industry, his claims were analogous to him claiming that "pigs can really fly" and if you disagree you burn in hell.  In many ways this leads me back to why I dislike forums.  Forums never promote a healthy discussion because the "owners" of the forum almost always filter the comments posted on their site.

In return, I found it hard to "bite my tongue" and posted a response on my blog citing line-by-line his blog and why he was mislead and erroneous in his assumptions.   Immediately after posting, I noticed that specific blog post showed up at the top of the 2nd page of the Google search results.  Quickly thereafter the post moved to the first page of the search result under the same terms one would use to search for his article.  Although I disagreed with the SEO expert claiming he was a seasoned M&A adviser, I enjoyed having the two articles compete as this serves as a diverse venue for people who are interested in said topic to see both sides of the story.

Several days later, I went back to see the "rankings" of those posts and realized that the rankings have not only declined, they no longer even show up in the search results at all.  My website itself still ranked well, but selective posts relating to this SEO expert all disappeared completely from the rankings.   In many ways, it was as though the Google bot never spidered the page.  I have to believe this is more than an automated algorithm glitch and there is a human element involved.  If that is really the case, then am I to believe that all Google SEO is influenced by these few experts who have the inside contacts?  If the SEC prohibits such unilateral information and access exchange, shouldn't the same apply to a search engine that I would dare claim has more effect on this economy and the mindset of American than the stock market itself?

Hopefully this post won't be "erased" and doomed to where my other posts have gone.

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