Google Owns SEO Company

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I was somewhat surprised at what I read when I came across a post by Scott Buresh on Search Engine Guide. The title is A Slippery Slope: Google Owns a Search Engine Optimization Company.

“What does this mean for those hiring other companies and looking for great search engine placement? We will just have to wait and see.”
Scott Buresh

Scott’s article elaborates on the fact that when Google purchased DoubleClick earlier this year, as part of that package they also got the SEO company Performics, who was a wholly owned subsidiary of DoubleClick.

I had certainly heard of Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick and the similar purchases made by MSN (they bought Aquantive) and Yahoo! (they bought Right Media and BlueLithium).

Google’s ownership of an SEO company has been discussed on other sites as well. And many of those discussions point out that it is a somewhat odd (some say unethical) partnership, which is the point that Scott was making in his article. It seems questionable to me on two fronts:

  1. It seems that Google could be accused of playing favorites to Performics and that could give them a definite advantage over other SEO companies. After all, if you wanted to have the best chance of a successful SEO campaign, wouldn’t you hire the SEO company owned by the most popular Search Engine? Even if Google comes out and states that they are in no way helping Performics with any “insider” information, just the fact that Performics is owned by Google would seem to give them some serious clout in comparison to other SEO companies.
  2. Everyone is interested in ranking on Google because it is the Internet’s most used Search Engine (check out the Flash graphic in the sidebar at the right to see their current market share). However, Google is interested in selling PPC advertising to companies who want to achieve high rankings. They want companies to setup Adwords accounts and then pay to be listed in “Sponsored Links” section of the SERPs. So when a company ranks well in the free organic results, Google does not get paid. Until now, it would appear.

Earlier this year, Scott wrote an article on Medium Blue’s web site which gave more perspective on the blurring line between Google’s PPC listings and the organic listings.

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