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Have Google lost sight of their mission statement?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 57 seconds

The Google-push to punish ranking-data scraping will develop search and web content into a completely wrong direction.  

The synergies of a combined strategy for SEO and PPC are well known, well documented, and to my knowledge, used by most (good) search-agencies. Even Google use it in their work to promote AdWords. To quickly summarize: Top listing organic + Top listing paid = more than twice the (relevant) traffic and visibility than if both were alone in the SERPS = great customer value. In addition to this, brands that take up more space in the SERPS are trusted more among searchers than others. All in all, SEARCH synergy gives Google what they claim they are looking for: better content, better websites, more value to their users, and more money back to both customer and Google.

Agencies and companies working towards giving their (potential) customers the best possible web content, work with search as a whole. They see what PPC and SEO can do together to make the user experience, the websites, the content and the campaigns even better. In this work, content optimisation is extremely important, and is often put under the SEO umbrella:


SEO cake



Within content optimisation, ranking is a major factor. If you are #3 in organic, your ad is less trusted than if you have top position on both organic result and ad. This leads brands ranking as #3 to work harder on their content to make it better and more accessible; to aim for the top position in both ad and organic result. This work will make the PPC campaign better, it will make the organic rankings better, it will develop the web content in the right direction, which will make it easier to

“[…] organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Google`s mission statement, made very visible on google.com/about. This leads me to what I don’t understand…

Why does Google now push search marketers away from making the web`s content better?

The latest move from Google, that pushed Raven Tools to stop showing ranking data, is, in my opinion, a very wrong move, away from thinking about search as a whole, and away from developing the world`s web content towards higher quality.

I agree with Laurence O’Toole, quoted here:

“There was a time when ‘Do not do evil’ was something users could really believe in. But if you look at this series of events since Google floated; Vertical integration in Search through product comparison, paid inclusion shopping listings, ‘Not Provided’ keyword referrer data favouring their Adwords customers over organic search marketers and now effectively threatening foreclosure on any company that wants to offer a combined SEO and PPC optimisation platform; would any reasonable man conclude that it has started to favour its own products and services more and more?”

As a SEARCH advisor, I want to be able to do the best possible work for my clients. To do the best possible work for them, I need ranking data. Of course I will also use different metrics, like growth in organic visits, leads and conversions, but all of this is closely connected to the ranking data, like it or not.

To summarize: In developing and organizing the world`s content, I don’t think punishing ranking data services is the right move. It is a move in the completely wrong direction. The day I stop using ranking data to develop search campaigns, with my client`s best interest in mind, is the day organic search no longer exist.

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Agnete Tøien Pedersen is Head of SEO in iProspect Norway and has years of experience within SEM, SEO, web publishing and journalism. She is also chairman of the Board of Ethical SEM in Norway, BraSøk. On a daily basis she is working with customers of all sizes, in Norway, the Nordics and internationally.
  • Pingback: Have Google lost sight of their mission statement? « National-Express2011()

  • LaurieOToole

    Let’s hope that day never comes!

  • Dale Lovell

    It’s an interesting post that am sure everyone working in SEO and online marketing has an opinion on. More and more brands are set to look clearly at content optimisation in more detail in the next 12 months; at Search News Media we are increasingly seeing clients that are moving away from PPC spends, looking to diversify into other areas – SEO, content marketing, social media – it’s something that would have me worried if I was Google.

  • Doris

    You’re passing off as obvious truths which are not.

    “Top listing organic + Top listing paid = more than twice the (relevant) traffic and visibility than if both were alone in the SERPS = great customer value.”

    Why is that better for the customer?

    “In addition to this, brands that take up more space in the SERPS are trusted more among searchers than others.”

    Maybe, but does this equate to a better, more useful search experience for users?

    “…synergy gives Google what they claim they are looking for: better content, better websites, more value to their users”

    How does “synergy” between PPC and organic results equate with “better content, better websites, more value”?

    Your overall conclusion may well be correct, it’s predicated on dubious assumptions.

    • Agnete Pedersen

      By “customer” in this part of the article, as a consultant, I mean the client. The client will benefit from more than double the relevant traffic. I am sorry if that was not clear.

      More trust through SERPS visibility also benefit the client.

      The benefit from search synergy will push brands to work harder on their content, since this both gain the ad campaign and the organic results. Better content = better websites = better customer experience.

      I base my “assumptions” on several surveys done by Google themselves. Among these are one in Norway for clients in retail, insurance, telecom and finance. It is hard to link to these, as they are presentations from Google, done by Google, and I couldn`t find them online 🙂


      • Doris

        I realise whose customer you meant. Google has lots of customers, though, and not all of them paying. Without the latter the former won’t be around for very long. So who does your ideal scenario really serve?

  • I think you nailed it on the head, Agnete. Google wants to scrape all the information out there for its own benefit (and dresses it up as a form of techno-altruism in the process), but throws a hissy-fit when others scrape Google in turn. The hypocrisy is epic.