This was the big question until today… ever wonder why your result is more timely, chalked full of direct information, yet ranks below a larger media site? Well, maybe it’s because someone at Google likes the media site more than they like you, personally. Or maybe that media site is more valued due to their ad spend, or maybe, just maybe, the media site wrote a bigger check to the guy that pulls the page rank (PR) lever?
Insinuations like these are swirling, but that’s what Google opened itself up to when an employee admitted that a little more than an algorithm may be behind your PR. In fact, according to ZDNet.com Tom Foremski, the human vote is a factor behind the walls of Googleplex. Google employee, Mr. Singhal alleges, “Google uses human raters to assess the quality of individual sites…”
Regardless of the complexities and reasoning behind this revelation, this will create problems for the search giant. Mr. Singhal says that helping larger sites out rank you is the opposite reasoning behind the human vote, but it will not matter.
The fall out from this mess is only just beginning if this allegation is proven true, as smaller sites will surely cry foul as Google has all along assured site owners that their rankings were measured only by algorithm and has denied any ability to manually adjust rankings. We suspected this to be far from the truth when we realized that when you resubmit your website for reinclusion to Google after being penalized, you’re actually corresponding with a human to review your site who has the power to respond or not, reindex you, or not, or simply ignore your official request all together. The problem is that now it is on the record, and Google may be liable for this very secretive process.
Groups magnify chances of Google hits (Ft.com pay wall link)
“Companies with a high page rank are in a strong position to move into new markets. By “pointing” to this new information from their existing sites they can pass on some of their existing search engine aura, guaranteeing them more prominence.
This helps companies such as AOL and Yahoo as they move into the low-cost content business, says Mr Bonnie. “They can use their Google page rank to make sure their content floats to the top,” he says.
Google’s Mr Singhal calls this the problem of “brand recognition”: where companies whose standing is based on their success in one area use this to “venture out into another class of information which they may not be as rich at”. Google uses human raters to assess the quality of individual sites in order to counter this effect, he adds.”
I’ve known about this for several years but wasn’t able to get anyone from Google on the record. These Google employees have the power to promote or even completely erase a site from the Google index.