Google: The "Last Thing We Want" Is The "Best SEO To Win"

Jul 30, 2010 • 8:49 am | comments (11) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News
 

Jeremy Sussman, a Google Local Product Manager has been pretty frank and clear with people in the Google Places forum. In one Google Places Help thread, he said, and I quote:

I can assure you that the last thing we want is for the business who hires the best SEO to win a better slot. But, the SEOs are, unfortunately, pretty good at what they do, and so sometimes they out smart us.

You read that? To not take it too much out of context, the thread is about why certain sites rank above others. Someone was upset his business ranked lower than another in Google Maps. Jeremy from Google said, "a simple answer like "the closest to you" is not always the right answer. But, all things being equal, the closest to you is the right answer. Figuring out the relative weights of the different factors in the rankings is one of the most difficult parts of our algorithm." But then goes on to explain that some SEOs know how to manipulate stuff and he simply isn't a fan.

Jeremy was also pretty straight in another Google Places Help thread where he said:

You know what I love about the help forum? Every now and then someone points out a problem that is not merely "my business is not ranked where I want it to be" but rather represents a real hole in our system. csteinle, this post definitely falls into that latter category.

I could make excuses about how hard it is to recognize the difference between two things that have the same name and very similar locations, but I would be out on a semi-defensible limb. Bottom line here is we need to fix this. And we will. Stay tuned.

So two bold statements, statements we rarely see worded this way from a Googler. One somewhat dissing SEOs and the other one where he admits Google failure, for now.

What is your take?

Forum discussion at Google Places Help.

Previous story: Google Site Speed: Two Factors, GoogleBot & Users
 

Comments:

John Q. Public

07/30/2010 01:49 pm

Not really news here, but awe it's nice to hear them say in public what we know to be true in private. "When the word "SEO" comes up in a programmer meeting, it is like throwing red meat to starving wolves". (-Google engineer, PubCon New Orleans 2005)

Andy

07/30/2010 02:26 pm

I didn't read that as anti-SEO It is a bus stop... maybe a stick in the ground, maybe a full shelter but still a bus stop... ranking instead of the hotel. It is just a bug caused by the bus stop being named after a local landmark.. the hotel, as it pretty typical in the UK as hotels often have very long histories and are local landmarks.

Ian P

07/30/2010 02:29 pm

Google just confirming what we already know. I'll walk into their Victoria office with a black hat next time I'm there

No Name

07/30/2010 04:33 pm

Here's how I see this... if you create a completely unbiased computer algorithm, and make it perfect, you'll have the perfect search engine. Throw in human intervention (SEO) and money (SEO) and you have a search engine where those with the most money out-rank those with less money. So, what Google says here makes perfect sense. If most sites only rank highly because they paid the best SEO, then relevancy is no longer unbiased... it has human (and money) involvement, which biases the system. On the other hand, the algorithm isn't perfect. So, to fill in the gaps of imperfection, SEO is needed. So, it's a bit of a catch-22. On one hand, SEO helps to make results relevant in an imperfect search algorithm... and, on the other hand, it introduces bias based on money and human connections.

Aaron Bradley

07/30/2010 04:55 pm

Doing "better SEO" as often as not entails doing things that add genuine user value to a site - and certainly that's a must for long-term viability in the SERPs. For example, if an SEO is able to put a content strategy in place that ends up providing users with a better site experience, then that site "deserves" to be more highly ranked - not because an SEO knows how to game the system, but because he's managed to provide users - and by extension Google - with something useful that didn't exist prior to optimization. Put another way, being "pretty good" at what you do is as much about creating value for users, as performing SEO tricks.

Michael Martinez

07/30/2010 05:25 pm

The ironic thing is that the Google engineers who optimize the algorithm are ALSO search engine optimizers.

No Name

07/30/2010 05:54 pm

As a local marketing consultant I am not offended. I understand that Google values relevancy and does not want to be out smarted my me, because that does not give their users accurate information. ;-)

Douglas Karr

07/30/2010 08:19 pm

Google is one of the top resources for SEO professionals and SEO pros are one of the top consumers of Google's information. The fact is that Google's algorithm really sucks... that's why Google recommends optimization and why SEO professionals are making so much damn money. If you want to stand a chance against your competition, both Google and SEO pros know that you HAVE to invest in optimization. That's because Google is broken.

Dan

07/30/2010 09:19 pm

Although SEO is technically manipulation of the system, does more money spent on SEO not reflect a larger SEO budget then others, which reflects a larger internet marketing budget, which reflects a larger marketing budget, which reflects a larger revenue, which reflects a larger profit, which reflects a higher demand for the product sold, which reflects that products position and rating in the market place? It is somewhat of a slippery slope, and won't always be true, but I see some value in companies hiring SEO, because it does reflect some legitimate rating of a company.

Dan

07/30/2010 09:19 pm

Although SEO is technically manipulation of the system, does more money spent on SEO not reflect a larger SEO budget then others, which reflects a larger internet marketing budget, which reflects a larger marketing budget, which reflects a larger revenue, which reflects a larger profit, which reflects a higher demand for the product sold, which reflects that products position and rating in the market place? It is somewhat of a slippery slope, and won't always be true, but I see some value in companies hiring SEO, because it does reflect some legitimate rating of a company.

Rolland

07/31/2010 08:39 am

Yes, Dan. Id say that's a pretty slippery slope indeed. Why should amazon.com have a stronger opinion on which laptop to buy than me, or you? Because they have a larger SEO budget? Bottom line is that people wont keep using shitty services, and google's numbers are still growing. SEO isn't a very hard task... deliver valuable content, and make the SE aware. Google will filter out the shit eventually.

blog comments powered by Disqus