In June 2017, the European Commission passed down a $2.7 bn (£2.1 bn) fine to Google for what they decreed was for the internet giant 'favouring their own content in its search results'. Although the fact that a fine has been handed down is not a surprise, industry insiders have been shocked at the amount of the fine , as well as the conditions set by the commission to close the case. Arguing their situation, Google has denied that their practices have been harming their e-commerce competitors (and ultimately, consumers) and are considering their options.
For an SEO agency, the case has made interesting reading and the ramifications should be interesting to learn once everything has come to pass.
Why Has Google Been Fined?
The case has actually been argued for over a decade – the European Commission feels that Google, as the world's largest search engine provider, should be offering a fair and just service for every business and individual who has a presence on the internet. What they are alleged to have found was that Google's search engine places its own service, Google Shopping, above its competitors in its results. Obviously, this will make the visibility of Google Shopping more prominent, leading to more clicks and sales of the products that they advertise. The EU commission sees this as the company abusing its position as the world's leading search engine leader, to ultimately push another of its services.
Perhaps offering a reason on why the case has seemingly dragged on for so long, Google has always vehemently denied that their methods harmed their competitors. Despite trying on a number of occasions to settle out of court, it has taken until now for the EU commission to present their decision, giving Google 90 days to respond.
What Could Happen Next?
Commenting on the fine, Google 'respectfully disagreed' with the decision and are considering their options of whether to appeal or pay the fine. Although the fine is a vast one (with a turnover of $90bn Google are able to easily afford it) it's actually the conditions set by the commission that will prove to be difficult for the company to adhere to.
Aside from the fine, the two options, which many industry insiders see as 'unpalatable', are:
- Google will need to open up their API (Application Programming Interface) so that other shopping services can place their own ads in the same, valuable spaces in a search.
- Or remove Google Shopping from the top of a search engine's results, meaning that users will have to switch over to Google Shopping's website if they want to use any of its functionality.
It's likely, given the conditions set, that Google will lodge some sort of appeal to the commission's recommendations. It's possible, if extremely unlikely, that Google could withdraw from the European Union altogether. Although with the reach that the EU has and the investment that Google makes in its European bases, this occurring will be extremely hurtful to both and suggests that they will need to get round the negotiating table and sort out some kind of compromise. With this case taking a decade to come to a decision, we're not expecting any deal to transpire anytime soon...
The Importance of An SEO Agency.
Although nothing will seemingly change in Google's search engine regarding its Shopping platform soon, the case highlights just why making use of an SEO agency (Search Engine Optimisation) is the best method for online retailers to attain a long-term presence in the results of a search engine.
SEO is an online marketing technique that sees popular search terms ( keywords) used in a piece of written content to attract a search engine's ranking software, which sorts websites based on the relevance of the particular keyword. This software (known in the industry as 'spiders') crawl the world-wide-web for content that matches the keyword. Once it finds a page, it then scans it for keyword relevance before placing it in its search results. The ranking will vary depending on a number of different factors, some include:
- The relevance of the keyword to the content – is it being used too little, or too much to be applicable to the search term?
- Related keywords – LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) – keywords that are related to the main keyword (the search term)
- (Working) hyperlinks to relevant content – does the page provide a gateway to other websites so readers can find more or additional information on the keyword? As a search directory, this is vitally important for search engines.
- Keywords used in page titles, headers and alt tags.
- The content is present on a regularly-updating website (i.e. one regularly updates its blog/news service).
There is of course, much more to SEO and mastering it can be a tricky and time-consuming process – especially if you have other duties to perform. This is why companies such an SEO Agency exist. These online marketing experts are able to help a business to establish a website that will get the brand of a business out there for a vast potential audience to see. With the entire operation taken over, businesses will just need to worry about choosing which of their products need to be marketed!
High-Quality SEO From Promote Agency.
Promote are a vastly-experienced SEO agency with a proven track record in helping all manner of businesses in improving their presence online, increasing their visibility to a local, national or even an international audience. The digital world that we inhabit is fast-moving and changing, so setting up a stall in the online marketplace is vitally important in order for the business to be a success.
If you would like to know more about how digital marketing can help to push your brand onwards, please don't hesitate to get in contact with us at Promote today. You can give us a call on 0845 050 2500 or you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.