Online Search- We Know Our Goals, What Are Google’s Goals?

google's goalsAs an organization, Google’s mission is “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google’s expansive territory claims 75% of the US search market online, and every month millions of unique users perform billions of searches. As users we have a pretty clear idea as to our goals when typing something in Google, but have you ever wondered what Google’s goals are?

The creation of computing machines was inspired by the desire to enhance the lives of humans, making the completion of tasks easier and the fulfillment of processes more efficient. Since the dawn of the digital age an everlasting goal of technological advancement has been to improve the symbiosis between humans and computers.

It was during his participation in the Human-Computer Interaction Group at Stanford that a grad student named Larry Page became an ardent advocate of the idea that user experience trumped all when it came to computing. He embraced the concept of user-focused design, insisting that computer interfaces should be intuitive and he openly acknowledged that the user is always right (Isaacson, (2014). The Innovators. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster). To this day the concept of user experience influences digital evolution, and it comes as no surprise that 20 years later the co-founder of Google has instilled these ideals at the core of online search.

Google’s Goal: Provide the Best Search Results

Google is universally known as a place to go to find things. Answers, facts, directions, products, services; seemingly infinite information at the tip of our fingers. The word “Google” was even categorized as a verb by the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006. To the best of its ability Google shows us what we ask for when we ask for it. But why? For what reason does Google give us instant answers to our questions after it sifts through a massive database filled with millions of websites, links, directories and publications just to answer a single question from an individual user? And for that matter how do we know that the answers provided by Google are the answers for which we are searching?

In 1998, a 20 page paper entitled “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine” was presented at an international conference, in which Larry Page and Sergey Brin concluded by declaring a single goal at hand: To provide high quality search results for online users (Isaacson, (2014). The Innovators. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster).

It’s simple conclusion aside, the paper detailed technical specifications about organic search rankings, web crawling, site indexing, PageRank and complex algorithms created by the duo that laid the foundation for what we know today as the online search engine, Google.

Google Goal #2: Eliminate Low Quality Content from SERP’s

In its unending mission to provide the highest quality search results, Google is constantly updating its algorithm to meet ever evolving user needs as well as snuff out black hat SEO. Over the past five years we have seen the most significant Google algorithm changes which aim to improve search results so that the best, most relevant content gets the exposure it deserves.

With these updates Google also intends to eliminate low quality content from search results, so penalties are administered to websites that fail to follow quality guidelines. There are a number of reasons why a site may be flagged and sometimes a penalty is deserved.

Google doesn’t penalize sites to be a tyrant and rule the online universe. Google simply rewards sites for offering high quality content and useful information, products or services. When Google rolls out an algorithm update or creates new ranking signals, it’s not to prevent sites or businesses from ranking, but rather to improve the quality of search results. Google evolves when it sees a need for improvement or when it recognizes an opportunity for enhanced UX. General rule of thumb to avoid Google penalties: Provide your audience with unique, useful, informative and relevant content that serves a purpose.

Google Goal #3: Maximize UX

Google does not rely solely on incomprehensible algorithms to determine the highest quality search results. Most would be surprised to learn that much of the daily activity each of us engages in online plays a significant role in how the search engine determines rankings. It recognizes how we interact, what we click, what we share and most importantly, what we DON’T need.

Additionally, people sharing and recommending content online is another way Google determines what’s relevant, factual and informative. This type of user behavior is similar to researchers citing other works and primary sources in a bibliography.

Since its creation and to this day Google has relied upon the study of people’s activity online to further improve the quality of the results provided by the search engine. User behavior as well as user experience have a significant impact on how Google achieves its goal of providing high quality search results.

The primary goal of Google is to provide users with the most relevant, highest quality results based on user search queries, i.e. their wants and needs when performing a search online. Google must trust a website or business before it ranks it organically. Google’s reputation is based on the quality of the information it provides and it’s not going to rank a website or business it does not trust. Google does not care about a website or business’s marketing goals. Google does not care to whom a business wants to be marketed. Google does not care where a business says they offer services. Google only cares about providing users with relevant, high quality search results as fast as possible.

Here are Ten Things We Know to be True directly from Google’s core philosophy to help guide us as well as business owners.

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