Google Manipulates Search Results to Favor its Own Content
Search rankings are determined by algorithms developed by the search provider that are supposed to identify the sites most likely to be relevant to the user’s query.
These algorithms can be programmed, however, to exclude, penalize, or promote specific sites or whole categories of sites. While the complexity of search algorithms make it difficult to know which variables have been set, any changes make a huge difference to a website’s opportunity for success.
However, according to The Wall Street Journal, “Google has ratcheted up competition with established websites by developing its own specialized services…and often promoting them above regular search results in recent years.”
For example, Google’s products like Maps, Places, News and Product Search appear mixed in with “organic” results, without any indication that they are actually Google-sponsored content.
In 2007, Marissa Mayer addressed Google’s practice of search manipulation, stating that “[When] we roll[ed] out Google Finance, we did put the Google link first. It seems only fair right, we do all the work for the search page and all these other things, so we do put it first… That has actually been our policy, since then, because of Finance. So for Google Maps again, it’s the first link.”