|Google Doesn’t Love You!
By: Ted Curtin
Google doesn't love you! Bing and Yahoo don’t necessarily care about you either, but that doesn’t stop them all from striving to deliver the most relevant search results to users in the shortest amount of time. In fact, that’s probably their most important focus, but sooner or later you need to realize it’s not for you. While this may surprise some people, search engines aren’t in the business of delivering search results. Search engines are in the business of connecting the most relevant advertisements with the most likely customers.
The leading search engines do this using incredibly sophisticated algorithms that engineers have spent millions of dollars developing over time. These computer models are designed to automatically assess a website’s value relative to specific terms that you, as a user looking for information, might search for. Specially designed programs called bots or spiders constantly crawl the still growing and ever-changing World Wide Web, gathering information on site content and traffic data. The level of sophistication allows these programs to assign carefully weighted values based on overall traffic, content depth, keyword saturation, image/text balance, inbound traffic sources, time-on-site data, and page depth data to show how deep visitors click into a resulting website. This last statistic is used as a likely measure of how valuable a user found that particular search result to be, thereby confirming relevancy – or lack thereof.
Google further tries to guide traffic by anticipating your search terms or interests and pre-populating the search field. This uses a combination of popular searches, as well as your own search history and web traffic. Often humorous, as you can see in this link, they don’t always get it right.
It goes well beyond “search." Those ads you see on YouTube and other non-search websites that you visit are all part of the search engines’ efforts to drive ad revenue. They do this by presenting advertisements so relevant to your interests and to the context in which you’re using the Web that it only makes sense for you to be interested enough to click through to that advertiser’s site, who in turn has paid the search engine for that traffic.
Admittedly, Google and the other brands are focused on their users, but not because of some altruistic purpose or love for its users. No, the search engines care primarily about the potential revenue your Web traffic can bring. Bottom line: Google is in the information business; more specifically, search engines are in the business of organizing information in such a way that it can be delivered in a meaningfully relevant and contextual manner so as to benefit businesses and consumers alike.
Ted Curtin is a recognized strategic marketing leader with over 22 years experience covering online and offline marketing channels. Follow him on Twitter or at TedCurtin.com
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