Google recently announced that it has changed the algorithm used to rank search results on its search engine. The move follows an article in the New York Times about an online vendor who claimed that he purposely abused his customers because negative reviews catapulted his website to the top of Google’s search results. According to a blog post by Google search engineer Amit Singhal, the change is intended to penalize unscrupulous merchants who managed to climb the search rankings through a multitude of negative reviews.
The change is not without controversy. A great deal of online marketing is based on high positioning on search result lists. Website designers often use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve their results. Frequent changes in the algorithm make the search result rankings unpredictable. Legitimate online vendors, which do not engage in malicious marketing tactics, rely on these results. These businesses have valid concerns about regular changes in algorithm that shift their position in the results.
Google does not release its algorithm so as to prevent it from being manipulated by malevolent marketers. The result is that it is more difficult for everyone, legitimate and malicious actors alike, to design websites that optimize search engine rankings.
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