Do Search Engines Have A Bias In Showing Their Own Sites?

Jan 20, 2011 • 8:58 am | comments (11) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Ben Edelman released a paper named Measuring Bias in "Organic" Web Search. In short, he felt "each search engine favors its own services in that each search engine links to its own services more often than other search engines do so." Specifically, "Google's algorithmic search results link to Google's own services more than three times as often as other search engines link to Google's services."

Read the report, then come back here.

Now Danny Sullivan, arguably the most respected writer in the search space disagreed. His story, named Google “Favors” Itself Only 19% Of The Time felt Google does not have any ranking bias towards their own results. Now that you read Edelman's story, go read Danny's and then come back here.

What do you think? Do you think Google unfairly pins their own services higher with a bias?

Before I state my opinion, take my poll below.

So Matt Cutts obviously thinks otherwise and he tweeted "Why would something called "Google Translate" rank higher for [translate] than a product called "Babel Fish"? Surely, SE bias?!? But: no."

I asked Matt, "@mattcutts what bothers you more, stuff like that or spam?"

This is where he replied, "@rustybrick I don't mind dubious claims when people are just uninformed. But these folks should know better. :("

Personally, I don't think Google is specifically moving their results up in the organic free listings. The algorithm looks at lots of factors where Google tends to do well in by the nature of Google's popularity. But I personally do not think Google has a ranking bias toward their results.

Forum discussion at Sphinn & Sphinn.

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