August 9, 2007

"Google isn't just a search engine, it's a business. If you forget that, you're setting yourself up."

64% of all searches done on the internet are through Google.* That's more than half of all searches online, making Google a colossal search engine. But Google isn't just a search engine, it's a business. If you forget that, you're setting yourself up.

A corporation that is not only viewed as one of the greatest search engines, but also as one of the most significant, well-run, outgoing businesses in the world. How many times have you used Google to search for something online? My guess is, a lot.

Because of Google's success and exemplary reputation, they released some guidelines for webmasters to follow.

And this is where trouble for you begins.

In the webmaster guidelines, Google states: "Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking [in the search engine result pages] or PageRank." To extend on the webmaster guidelines about avoiding link schemes, Google software engineer Matt Cutts made a post on his personal blog about reporting paid links (scroll down to the May 12th update), where he states his personal opinion of why paid links should be avoided.

Simply put: paid links potentially corrupt search engine results.

Then, on August 8th, respectable search engine optimizer Aaron Wall of SEO Book called Google out for selling high quality links themselves.

Yes, it does look like Google is selling spots on a Google blog in order to benefit the companies they work with - money passes from one company to another. But all that is really happening is people are assuming the worst of a great company.

Google is making a legitimate product marketing post in their blog regarding a service that worked well with their software. The link exchange is mutual and is legitimate.

Other than the use of keywords (eg. Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls) there is no reason to assume that Associate Product Marketing Manager of Google Checkout, Alyssa England, was passed any green to make the post.

Any evidence otherwise is purely speculation and unjustified in my, personal, opinion. Google is a model company. We've seen the way they treat their employees, the way they have changed the world, and other reasons why they are such a great company.

But you still can't forget: they are a company. Just like the coffee shop or toy store down the street. They have PR pitches, they sell inside scoops, and they need to make money in order to sustain themselves.

So, firstly, don't assume that, because they made a legitimate product post, they are selling their power to smaller businesses. And even if they are: they are a business. Not just a huge search engine, not just a powerful authority in web marketing, not just a group of individuals who want the best for the world.

Google will be foremost, and lastly, a business.

*Source: August 9th, 2007 (