With screenshot out, Google denies ranking hanky-panky

An image with dollar figures next to Google search results prompted speculation that commercial considerations affect Google rankings, but Google denies it.

Google is dismissing speculation that commercial considerations play a role in how it ranks Web sites, as a screenshot of a Google search results list with dollar values for each link makes the blogosphere rounds.

The French-language Zorgloob blog, which focuses on Google issues, first ran the screenshot on Tuesday, prompting discussions in online forums and other Web publications.

Google confirmed that the screenshot is legitimate, but explained that it came from a tool used by members of the company's AdWords sales team for purposes of prioritizing new customer acquisition efforts.

"Our organic search results have always been completely independent from our paid advertisements. We consider the objectivity of our search results to be paramount to our success and would never compromise that in any way," said software engineer Matt Cutts, in a statement sent via the company's public relations department.

The tool isn't used by the company's search quality team "in any way," he said. "We are strongly committed to maintaining the integrity of our organic search results."

Still, some Google watchers aren't completely satisfied by the Google statement, as evidenced by some of the questions and observations posted in discussion threads and blog comments in places like WebmasterWorld, Google Blogoscoped and Valleywag.

For instance, a participant in the WebmasterWorld thread wonders why, if the tool's purpose is customer acquisition, the data would be attached as well to the links of existing AdWords advertisers.

This person also questions whether Google even approaches potential advertisers to get them started on AdWords, which has traditionally been described by the company as a self-service program for which advertisers sign themselves up online.

Others are wondering what some of the data labels in the search results mean, like "GG Score," and how the values are calculated.

Google didn't immediately reply to a follow-up request for comment on these issues.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?