Google’s first official slogan “Don’t be evil!” revealed much of the intention the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had when creating the search engine Google. It worked differently than any other application. Page and Brin wanted a service that structured information and offered users exactly what they were searching for. But why were others like Lycos and Yahoo considered evil?
When searching for something, Lycos and Yahoo ranked the results differently from Google: Those who paid the most were ranked on top. So, if, for instance, someone would search for “puppies” it might have happened that completely unrelated pages showed up, just because they paid to be on top when a user typed in a certain keyword. As a result, the pages that ranked highest often appeared to be related to pornographic content. This was not only unpleasant, but also not very user-friendly.
Why Google is better than the others
Page and Brin developed an algorithm to rank pages. Not the ones that paid most showed up, but those that provided the most useful and most related information. Over 200 factors influence which page will be ranked on top. Things like the content, the structure of the side and of course the keywords used to decide whether or not the website will show up in the SERP (search engine result page). Interesting is how Google assesses links. The more pages link to a side and the better these pages are, the higher it will rank. Larry Page developed an algorithm called “Page rank” to indicate how “good” a website is.
But there is more that made the Google way more user-friendly than any other search engine at that time. The design is what we call today “flat”. What became a trend in web design about two years ago was implemented by Google in the early 2000s: nothing irrelevant should distract the user on the front page. Differently from Yahoo, Google did not have any advertisement or colorful pictures that would sidetrack users from their intention to search for something. That made the page load faster and was highly convenient for users.
How can businesses benefit from Google?
The strategies above have made Google the absolute leader in the digital industry. It developed quickly into a multi-service corporation and became an indispensable component of marketing. Although the algorithm was developed to prevent exploitation, it can be influenced. By optimising their website, companies can rank higher; and the higher they rank, the more users will click (it is said that 70% of all users will click on one of the first 3 results). Especially when selling goods on the internet, search engine optimisation became unavoidable.
Other than that, different services of Google can be used for marketing. Ever since Google launched Google Ads, one can pay to turn up on top. The first two to three results are highlighted and paid ads. Whoever is willing to pay the most will be ranked highest. Whether this is good or bad is, of course, negotiable.
Maybe Google turned into the evil they were fighting in the first place. However, for companies this is a very good marketing technique to acquire customers. Most people do not even know these first results are ads. When companies master both SEO and SEA (search engine optimisation and search engine advertisement), they will very likely increase their sales. Therefore, Google became an extremely important tool in marketing, especially in online retailing.
About the author
Anna-Elisa Hanske is studying Business Administration at the HTW-Berlin, Germany. For the last 3 years, she has been working in Online-Marketing (SEO) in a Berlin Start-Up Company. To satisfy her passion for travelling and different cultures, she went to Westminster Business School for the past semester.
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