Google Vs. Foundem: End of Search Engine High-Handedness?

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that taking a peek into the Google Search algorithms is a dream that every SEO professional nurtures. 

But, wouldn’t it be unfair if just one SEO has an undue advantage over others with access to information that’s otherwise privy to only a few?

It seems like that’s the situation that Google is trying to avoid.

But how did the Search Giant land in this situation in the first place?

Background

This dates back to the year 2012 when Foundem, a vertical search engine, filed a lawsuit against Google that is being fought to date.

Foundem alleged that it was a victim of Google’s anti-competitive practices. The company was a vertical search engine for finding the lowest online prices and was initially open only to a few users. However, it ranked high in searches.

After it opened the platform to all users, Foundem still appeared prominently in all shopping-related searches. 

But it was just a matter of two days before Foundem was buried deep into the Google SERPs, pushed under several hundreds of pages.

Smell a Rat?

With no changes in its mode of operation of finding results, and assuming that algorithm changes at Google rarely bring about cataclysmic ranking changes of this magnitude, it was hard to believe that Foundem could be pushed into the deepest, never-explored pages of the results. That too within a short window of two days!

What further raised alarm was the fact that the young search engine still ranked high on other search engines.

This led the founders of the Foundem to believe that this was a conscious effort by the Search Behemoth to squelch competition and led them to file a lawsuit against Google.

What Next?

A UK court has served an ultimatum to Google to either withdraw the documents it has submitted to its defense or disclose the details of the search algorithm.

Since the Court may not be technically adept at understanding the algorithm, Foundem has requested for a working SEO consultant to review the algorithm.

For obvious reasons, this is not acceptable to Google.

Also, withdrawing documents means that the Search Engine has nothing to defend itself with.

It thus brings them to a point where the submitted document will be reviewed by an SEO consultant.

The Court has given them a ‘reasonable time’ to take a call on this. 

What remains to be seen is what Google decides.

Irrespective of Google’s decision, the outcome would be a landmark in the search history.

Selina

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