While you may view search engines as a neutral tool for querying, in actuality, search engines are created by company-affiliated individuals and operate much like any product. They’re designed to satisfy the consumer and financially benefit the producer. Although this realistic view of search engine intent shouldn’t necessarily raise any red flags, what might concern you is how search engines serve up results. Google, in particular, intervenes algorithmically to remove spam results that the search engine believes are useless to the consumer. While it is arguable that less spam is a good and welcome thing, what happens if Google deems your site spam? In addition to the removal of spam, Google is a habitual booster of massive corporations such as Amazon and Facebook. The rationale for boosting larger sites is not particularly nuanced. Big names can outperform small companies when it comes to SEO, and they typically offer a wider selection of items that can satisfy the consumer. With that said, this Google bias can underserve your site by burying it under offerings from big names. In the world of Google bias, you need to understand how the deck is stacked against small businesses and actively work to ensure your site performs to the best of its ability.When you share responses to these questions, journalists typically indicate your role as the source, linking back to your site and scoring you additional inbound links.Research conducted by Brian Dean underlines the finding that long-form content is much more valuable to users than its shorter counterpart in many cases. Now that we know long-form content performs better, how can it eliminate Google bias and help make your site more visible to future consumers? Below are the top two reasons why long-form content can help your site emerge from the shadows of big brands.
How Are Search Engines Biased?When you encounter the word “bias,” you might associate it with nefarious connotations. Although there have been claims that Google bias slants search results against particular political leanings, when it comes to search engines, Google bias overall tends to trend more toward erring too heavily on the perceived wants of their audience. Google search algorithms are based on a slew of information, including the phrasing of your query, the reliability of sources, the relevance of pages, and countless other factors. Even your location and settings can help Google discover the most relevant information for your search. It stands to reason that the aggregation of this information lends itself toward suggesting sources that try to match and satisfy past behavior, as well as other defining indicators. In addition to these algorithms, Google bias can be impacted by domain authority (DA), a ranking metric that indicates both your site’s success in ranking on search engines, as well as your site’s perceived expertise surrounding a specific topic. DA is measured by various factors, including inbound links, which are vitally important to score calculation. With an increased amount of inbound links from other relevant domains comes an increased DA score, in most cases.
The Effect of Search Engine Bias on BusinessesUnfortunately, bias (whether helpful or not) can significantly impact small businesses that have few inbound links and sparse content. For big organizations with equally big wallets, constant content creation can earn inbound links and score a high DA score, helping them land top positions on search engine results pages (SERPs). Collectively, the above factors can severely limit your site’s search result visibility. Not only are you competing against big brand names, but you’re also losing SERP traction if you’re not actively recruiting inbound links and establishing expertise. There is also a chance your DA will decrease when a massively popular site (think Twitter) gains a large number of inbound links, deflating your search rank and lowering your overall DA score. For sites as large as Twitter or Amazon, there’s not much a small business can do to compete with the sheer number of inbound links and resulting high DA. However, you can aim to earn a higher score than your competitors by employing white hat strategies to combat Google bias.
Ethical Strategies for Combating Search Engine BiasesWhile the above may seem daunting for small-to-medium business owners looking to grab some top-SERP terrain, you can use several strategies to help you compete for those rankings. By incorporating the following four approaches into your digital strategy, you can compete in the battle for search visibility.
Focus on a Single SubjectWhile it’s clear that Google bias means delivering results from big-name sites, the algorithm is also partial to sites that focus on a single subject in depth. This strategy not only helps you earn points in Google’s algorithm, but it also helps you establish yourself as an industry expert in your field. Instead of creating a range of content, focus on a single topic that satisfies every component of the buyer’s journey and build out a content map from there. This task might seem overwhelming due to the sheer amount of potential content, so here are three places to start:
- Content that educates on early-journey topics
- Content that highlights your point of view on your topic
- Content that explains industry perspectives on the topic