It was in the headlines last week. Trust you’ve read the news (https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-may-be-forced-to-reveal-its-search-algorithm-to-an-seo/359536/) of Google’s predicament! Either way, it looks like Google is being cornered in a legal battle against Foundem, the UK based price comparison website. Well, let us leave it to the courts to decide on an appropriate and just judgment.
Having said that, let us briefly see what it means or rather what these look like for the SEO industry at large.
Form the article we can gather that the possible scenario could be that the Court asks Google to give access to the algorithm to all SEOs, keeping in line with the below argument of Google.
“The integrity of Google’s ranking processes relies upon all webmasters or website owners having the same degree of access to information about Google’s ranking… This will no longer be the case if the information of this kind is made available to some individuals offering commercial services to assist companies to improve their search ranking.”
At the outset, Google’s algorithm available to all appears to be an exciting thing! But, the interpretation of the algorithm may not be quite as simple as we think. This is like owning a Gold mine, but not having the tools to get the gold in a sale-able condition!! We may do some progress, by getting help from algorithm experts. To begin with, it may help us to know what are the ‘factors’ involved. But, how far can we make it to an advantage for our websites?
Hence, though it is good to know the factors, the key would lie in knowing how much weight is given for each factor. This is something that we will be able to find out by the test-running algorithm against a few websites and keeping on altering each SEO factor in the websites and comparing the result against the others.
Given, the vast majority of the SEO’s capabilities, it is almost an impossible task for a regular SEO individual or a company to figure this out and arrive at some solid conclusions. However, big-time and serious companies like MOZ, Ahrefs, etc. and of course, the other search engines like Bing, Yandex, etc, with its heavy availability of resources may be able to get it done.
The bigger question, however, is “After having put such efforts, will these companies be willing to put this information about the findings out as free?”
Anyone’s wild guess would be that these companies would rather monetize their information. It would do a typical marketing strategy of throwing a dog bone and saying it as free and then charge for the remaining. Before all these rolls out, we can also see how their high-paying clients end up taking the spots in the first positions of the search ranking. This can make the market to be uneven and put a huge number of SEOs at a disadvantage, even though the information is available.
Will we get the Latest & Best from Google? 2006 algorithm vs 2020 algorithm.
Let us not be very thrilled! Even if the ruling is that Google has to release the algorithm to all the SEOs, are we going to know things as it is now? Our take is, it need not be. Based on the period of the case, Google may be forced to give the algorithm, yes, but as it was in 2006!! For analysis of the algorithm, given the context of the case, Google may need to only reveal how the algorithm performed in 2006. This doesn’t help much, does it?
Now, Google stands vulnerable at this point, if they have not done any major changes from 2006. But we all know that this need not be the case. For example, Panda came later than that, and since then, so many improvements came after 2006. Hence, instead of Google being vulnerable, etc, it would be that we may end up having a rather silly and immature algorithm (compared to the current one that is running) in our hands.
An Outdated Algorithm – What can we make out?
What are we then going to do with such an outdated or useless algorithm? Again, companies like MOZ and others have to push the algorithm against multiple factors and simulation and do a herculean task of building on top of it to figure out what Google is doing now. But, with huge resources and backup, companies like them and Yahoo, Yandex, etc., may be able to figure out something, this would make them have something better than others.
Leaving all the speculations apart, at this stage, we would rather have the algorithm remain as an unknown. This would keep the SEOs healthy guessing and continue the trial & error and the reverse engineering experiments to be kept On. Given the sheer numbers and capabilities of the SEO companies, this would be far more a viable choice rather than the information about the algorithm being known for only a few companies and creating an uneven advantage over the vast number of others. This can, however, work as an advantage for all of them involved if some open-source efforts can be organized and built.
Hence, unless a concept of open-source can be convincing enough for any of these big-time companies, the results may not be very pleasant for the vast majority of the SEOs. The competition can become a very one-sided one!
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