Marketing 3 min read

Google may Have to Share its Search Algorithm With an SEO

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Google‘s search algorithm is a closely-guarded secret on the internet. Now, the tech giant may be forced to share it with an SEO.

Back in 2006, Foundem — a shopping comparison site — decided to become open to everyone.

Before this decision, only a limited group of users had access to Foundem’s pages. At the same time, it appeared prominently in Google’s search result, often ranking on the first page for shopping-related queries.

However, two days after Foundem launched to everyone, it’s search ranking fortune changed. The shopping comparison site dropped on Google from the first SERP to dozens — maybe even hundreds — of pages lower.

Google penalty usually involved banishing a page from its search engine’s listings. However, Foundem’s chief technology officer, Adam Raff, couldn’t understand why the tech company had removed them.

Until December 2009, when Google finally re-listed Foundem, it was almost invisible on the search engine. Meanwhile, the shopping comparison site continued to rank well on Bing and Yahoo.

This led to the notion that Google was making a conscious effort to stifle competition against Shopping.

In a 2009 New York Times opinion piece, Adam Raff said:

“Google’s treatment of Foundem stifled our growth and constrained the development of our innovative search technology.”

In 2012, Foundem filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming that it was the victim of anti-competitive practices by the search engine giant.

Google’s Search Algorithm Becomes a Court Exhibit

To prove that it didn’t engage in anti-competitive practices, Google had to provide several confidential documents to the UK High court.

Google’s engineers, Cody Kwok and Michael Pohl filed these documents as court exhibits. And it included how the search ranking algorithm works, as well as the way Google applies it to shopping sites generally.

At the time, Foundem argued that the details of Google’s search algorithm would be too technical for lawyers to understand. So, it wants to bring in a working SEO consultant to interpret the details.

Unsurprisingly, Google doesn’t want to give up its algorithm secrets.

The search engine giant argued that such an act would compromise the integrity of its ranking process. Meanwhile, the document remains vital to winning the case, and Google doesn’t want to withdraw it.

This brings us to where we are now.

As it stands, Google has two choices — withdraw the document or share the algorithm. However, if Google chooses neither option, the judge will grant the SEO consultant permission to examine the document.

Depending on how this plays out, we could be on the verge of a historical event in the search history.

Read More: How Google Indexes Pages with Infinite Scrolling

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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