Google Search Engine

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Anyone who has been on or around computers for even a short time has heard of Google. Most people originally hear about the Google search engine through word of mouth and the term “Google it” has become a common phrase referring to ‘searching’ for something on the internet through the Google search engine. This ‘verb’ is so popular today that that the word ‘google’ was added to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary and Oxford’s Dictionary in 2006 citing the meaning “to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web.”

The history of Google is short but very sweet. Google was born in 1996 when Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin started developing a search a engine that displayed results and rank based on a website’s ‘relationship’ with other relevant websites rather than the [then] current model where most search engines ranked their results based on the amount of times the searched keyword appeared in a document or webpage. They named the search engine “Google”, a misspelling of the word “googol” which is the word for the number 10 followed by 100 zeros (10100). Google made history with their semi-revolutionary ‘relevant’ search algorithms which would the catapult for the company’s unprecedented growth in subsequent years and would have an inestimable effect on SEO and Internet Marketing.

Since its incorporation in 1998, Google moved its offices to Silicon Valley and has since patented PageRank and introduced Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC), Google Maps, Google News, Gmail, Froogle, Google Earth and has acquired many companies including YouTube, JotSpot, Where2 (for Google Maps) and Keyhole Inc. (for Google Earth) to name a few.

Google is now worth over $190 billon surpassing other giants such as FedEx, McDonalds, Coke, Intel, IBM, and Wal-Mart. It is estimated that the Google search engine houses 47% of all searches on the internet worldwide. This is an unprecedented share of the market and is the reason most SEO Companies base their results on Google testing.

Google and SEO

The history of Google and SEO has been a somewhat rocky one. Because of this, when attempting to rank a webpage in Google, one needs to understand concepts and strategies far beyond “relevant links.” Google’s goal for their search engine is to list pages with actual content and data. The Google search engine uses custom algorithms to ‘rank’ pages and is constantly updating these algorithms to protect themselves against ‘black hat’ SEO techniques.  Google will change or update their algorithms – causing some PageRanks to decrease or increase radically. Many SEO and marketing sites bash these changes calling them unfair and intentionally destructive to the work of SEO Companies in general.  Google maintains that they need to change the algorithms to avoid inevitable exploitation from Black Hat marketers who rarely offer value to the searcher. As such, organic content is now quite possibly the most important piece of the puzzle for ranking in the Google search engine.

Google Algorithms

I remember when I first heard of Google. It was in the late 1990’s and I was in University at the time. My friends and I had recently switched to a search engine called Metacrawler because we were frustrated with the irrelevant results we were getting from the other popular search engines. (Metacrawler was developed by University of Washington graduate Erik Selberg and Assoc. Prof. Oren Etzioni as Selberg’s Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Project.  It blended results from multiple search engines such as Lycos, InfoSeek and WebCrawler.) A good friend of mine suggested the Google search engine after a short discussion on the increasingly irrelevant and ‘spammy’ results in the current search engines. I went to Google and made my first search for a dialup networking error code and Eureka! – the first result had a list of all the error codes I needed. That was all it took for me to switch over to Google. As the Google search engine grew in popularity, its results soon became victim to exploitation. Soon it was apparent that the Internet Marketers of the world had started exploiting the Ranking algorithms. This is about the time where meta tags became atrocious in size. Unlike the other search engines, Google put both feet forward in combating irrelevance and exploitation and facilitated the birth of major algorithmic changes in their search properties.  Google still combats ranking exploitation today and spends an unprecedented amount of money on their research of semantics and organic copywriting. In short, Google is still trying to make their search engine user friendly – where users can find relevant content for their searches. Google’s history shows that they can and will make large algorithmic changes to keep their search engine relevant – which means their future is seemingly secure.

Most honest, ethical SEO Companies and Internet Marketers understand that Google is not ‘against’ SEO. Google’s articles on the topic qualify this. They publish articles to help  guide webmasters in the hiring of an SEO.  The paper is useful  background for website owners(especially the part about being wary of ‘guaranteed rankings’ – since Google constantly changes their algorithm, it is almost impossible to ‘guarantee’ any ranking for any amount of time).  Black Hat SEO Companies complain about algorithm changes for one reason – their ‘shortcuts’ no longer work. Undoubtedly, this is frustrating for them. If these SEO Companies employed ethical and honest service to their clients, focusing on what a ‘searcher’ would want to find (such as content and relevancy), their rankings would fluctuate very little and increase over time by virtue of ‘trust’ and ‘domain age’. In this way, Google is not penalizing SEO Companies. Google is holding the industry accountable to the goals of all web customers who search online, which is to create a search engine which produces rankings based on content and trust.

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