Sunday, November 20, 2011

How Google explains its rankings

In 2007, Google published this explanation:
Our search results are generated completely objectively and are independent of the beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google. Some people concerned about this issue have created online petitions to encourage us to remove particular links or otherwise adjust search results. Because of our objective and automated ranking system, Google cannot be influenced by these petitions. The only sites we omit are those we are legally compelled to remove or those maliciously attempting to manipulate our results.
But it was never the case that Google sesrch results were objectively generated.

Saying that it removes "those maliciously attempting to manipulate our results" is also misleading, at best. It punishes sites that compete with Google portal services, or that use a competing ad network, or that use keywords and SEO methods to boost rankings. It is absurd to call these tactics "malicious". The web sites are just promoting their content in straightforward ways, and not acting maliciously towards anyone else.

Google's current version says:
The beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google, as well as the opinions of the general public, do not determine or impact our search results. Individual citizens and public interest groups do periodically urge us to remove particular links or otherwise adjust search results. Although Google reserves the right to address such requests individually, Google views the comprehensiveness of our search results as an extremely important priority. Accordingly, we do not remove a page from our search results simply because its content is unpopular or because we receive complaints concerning it. We will, however, remove pages from our results if we believe the page (or its site) violates our Webmaster Guidelines, if we believe we are required to do so by law, or at the request of the webmaster who is responsible for the page.
So Google no longer claims that its results are automatically or objectively generated, and that it sometimes makes manual adjustments as a result of popular pressure.

Google is still lying when it says that its beliefs and preferences do not impact its search results. Google rankings change at least once a month as a consequence of manual fine-tuning of those preferences. It is especially obvious that the "feel lucky" results are hand-tuned.

The complaint was that a search for "jew" yields, just as a search for "jihad" yields These sites have politically sensitive content that is banned in certain countries. Apparently these sites do not violate the Webmaster Guidelines.

An example of Google finding a violation is how Google punished JC Penney for paying for links from unrelated sites. Most of Google's revenue comes from pressuring sites to use ads related to page content.

No comments: