The Game Google Plays


Google burst onto the scene in 2000, and users gravitated towards the simple interface it offered. At the time, the search market was dominated by extensive portals that offered up-to-date news and various applications, all on the one page sharing the search function. Google’s simple page design of logo and search box, which we all still see today, allowed it to quickly gain dominance as the go-to search portal for most users.

While the front page for Google is still simple, its offering it is now more a gateway Google uses to entice users to its myriad of available products. While it started out as a Stanford University project, it has now become a multi-billion dollar listed company and, like all listed companies, its sole aim is to make profits for its share holders. Google is constantly using its market dominance to gain more users as well as to maximise profits, which can be a tricky tight-rope for it to walk. Many big companies that had market dominance have lost it, with poorly calculated changes that alienated its users, with the end result in them losing market share.

Google now has many businesses apart from its search engine, but its search engine still forms an integral part of its overall marketing strategy. While most end users see Google as free, it in actual fact makes huge amounts of money selling advertising. Google’s challenge is to stay relevant with its search results, while trying to get users to gravitate towards its paid ads as much as possible.

Google ranks sites using a complex algorithm, measuring hundreds of factors to determine a site’s worth. Every time a user searches via its portal, it ranks sites according to this factor to help it determine the most relevant websites for the search result, and lists them accordingly on page one , two,three, etc. As the site gained dominance, website owners realised that, to be successful, they needed to be on page one for relevant results pertaining to their service or products. Google soon realised that being an algorithm (or simply a computer program), unscrupulous companies could find ways to trick it, to get sites ranking at number one. To combat this, the algorithm is in constant development to thwart these loopholes and, in theory, to provide the most relevant results.

It is estimated that, this year alone, Google will make up to three hundred changes to its algorithm; several significant changes, plus smaller tweaks that can play havoc with a website’s positioning. Today’s website owners need to stay on top of current changes and proposed future changes in order to be successful. Google will not list the changes it makes to the algorithm, but just give general guidelines as to what it is looking for. To discover what works best, you need a stable of websites to get a full picture of what Google is doing and how it affects ranks. Hiring a reputable SEO company can help you to navigate these changes, so your site continues to flourish and adapt to whatever algorithm Google updates throws at it.