Google, Search, & the Web of Trust

Apr 20th

This post is a few bulleted points which point at the web of trust Google is trying to build.

  • Google has expressed intent in using user feedback to help define relevancy.

  • They may follow click streams to understand who your sponsors are. (also mentioned in the above patent)
  • Google may be doing a decent amount of temporal link analysis, especially for sites below a certain authority level. (also mentioned in the above patent)
  • Google created a system which stores search history over time. Google may shift how much they trust these profiles based on
    • search volume

    • how well a profile related to other search profiles
    • location based on IP addresses (they could discount the effect of profiles which were primarily created through open proxies or in poor areas).
  • Installing their toolbar means they probably know what sites you own (since site owners tend to visit their sites more often than anyone else).
  • Google has access to registrar data. This can likely be used to help determine if and how sites are related.
  • Google runs the world's single largest distributed ad network. If you use that network they know what sites you are marketing. They know what markets you are in.
  • Google has been filtering or banning sites which have unnatural linkage profiles.

PageRank was broken from the start. The concept they were going after may still well exist though if they can get enough users of their search history tool. While other search engines still seem relatively easy to spam Google may be trying to measure web wide trust scores using much more than just raw linkage data.

Google need not stomp SEO techniques out, they only need to:

Some people will be untouchable. They will know enough about social engineering and database programming to where they will still spam Google all day long. I am sure Google realizes that, but they want to continually increase costs to where that is an exceptionally small pool.

As SEO gets harder Google makes more money from ads. As they make more money from ads they can spend more into making SEO harder.

Now if only they could share more data with advertisers to help make click fraud easier to detect. Google bought Urchin. Why not buy, create, or offer something like Who's Clicking Who. Surely Google has the market data and it will not increase costs much to give advertisers more options and more data.

A search company which makes tons of profit organizing data should recognize that by making advertising transparent and making more ad information available they will create a more efficient market which creates more profits. The advertising community would likely police themselves if you gave them enough data and responded to feedback.

Published: April 20, 2005

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