What will a transparent Google algorithm mean for SEO?
By Adam Kennedy-Ripon
PRAGUE — Google will be accused of abusing dominance of the search engine market by the EU in an antitrust legal battle that could cost tens of millions. Google has over 62.3 percent of market dominance — and growing.
As a result, alarm bells have been ringing throughout Brussels. The EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the US company, which dominates Internet search engine markets worldwide, had been sent a Statement of Objections, effectively a charge sheet, to which it has a 10-week window to respond.
It is unlikely that Google will voluntarily disclose its clandestine algorithms (or any other intellectual property it holds), therefore, the legal battle may run into tens of millions, a figure Google can easily afford. Google recently said in an email to its employees:
''We have a very strong case, with especially good arguments when it comes to better services for users and increased competition.''
However, bear in mind that the EU successfully won a legal challenge against Microsoft in 2007 that resulted in an unprecedented $732 million dollar payout from Microsoft, who failed to respect an antitrust settlement with regulators. Microsoft, a company with more net value than Google, estimated at US $22.07 billion, compared to Google's US $14.44 billion, lost the case against the EU Commission. Therefore, some think that Google could lose this case, even with its substantial capital and legal expertise. Google has been under increasing pressure to expose its algorithm in the US for well over 8 years. Could this be the nail in the coffin for Google?
What does this all mean for SEO professionals?
SEO professionals could potentially gain from a transparent search engine algorithm. A successful legal challenge by the EU is welcomed by the majority of SEO experts; they will be watching this case closely after having been shoved around for years by Google, a firm that even considered establishing their own Google SEO team to provide SEO services, in effect putting non-Google SEO out of business. Propitiously, this was seen as a Conflict of Interest and rejected.
Nevertheless, if the EU is successful in revealing Google's algorithm, this could also result in pandemonium. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry will have the knowledge to manipulate Google's algorithm for poll position, jeopardizing the overall quality of Google's search results and possibly pushing down legit webpages for spam-related content. Could we see a return of the search results from 1997?
Google has stated,
"Making our algorithms available for everyone to see sounds simple, but it would let spammers, sites with malware, and low-quality websites game our system, which hurts our users."
One thing is certain: if Brussels wins its legal challenge against Google, SEO experts will be in hot demand in a competitive business world and Google will be pulling their hair out to find a solution!