Does Google let third parties edit search results?

  • 0
  • February 1, 2008

According to this interview with Marissa Mayer Google doesn’t let third parties such as AOL and Myspace alter the search results they syndicate from Google.

We work very hard on our ranking functions. As a result, our search licensing agreements explicitly prohibit reranking results. A lot of the value our partners pay for is in the ranked list of search results, so we suggest they don’t rerank it. We welcome developers adding things to the UI to make search more useful. Because the ranking remains one of the core aspects of our business, we have as part of our Terms of Service that they not reorder results. The Google brand stands for excellence in relevance and ranking, so we don’t want to provide a co-branded product where it doesn’t reflect our best ranking.

If that’s really the case why does this result differ so much to this result?

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • Luke Daly

    Good point and obviously they don’t really know what’s going on.

  • Rob

    Hack the URL to change “&meta=cr%3DcountryUK%7CcountryGB” to just “&meta=cr%3DcountryUK” and the results change significantly, and at least the top two hits will now match those from AOL.

    But you will notice a really small number of hits (“about 1,050” on, “about 203” on whereas the original unhacked google URL had “about 3,780,000” hits.

    If you now hack the URL from both engines to refer to “countryGB” instead of “countryUK” then the SERPs will appear to match up, although the still show massively fewer results.

    So the real take-home from this is that: 1. Google appears to support both “UK” and “GB” country codes, but prefers “GB” over “UK” against local convention; 2. followed local convention, picked the wrong one, and is searching a smaller set of pages than they could be.

    I repeated the tests with “plumber” instead of “” and got similar, expected results.

    One other weird thing I noticed: google claims for results for searching just “countryGB” than “countryGB|countryUK”

  • Pingback: TechWeb Media | Does Google let third parties edit search results? (Response to BlogStorm)()

  • Graham Langdon

    Nice Exposé

Like what you see? Talk to an Expert