They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but is the Times mightier than search habits? In a recent New York Times article, Google search results come under fire. Still, marketers may find the piece is nothing more than a little bad publicity for the search giant, which dominates the market.
In the article, A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web, the Times relays the story of a woman who placed an order with a company she found online – a top result in Google. She was overcharged and harassed by the man behind the business. The journalist, David Segal, goes on to explain that "online chatter, even furious online chatter, pushed the site higher in Google results, which led to greater sales."
Later, he asserts that Google was reluctant to be interviewed for the piece with respect to its search results. Instead, Google reps told Segal to talk to the editor of Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan.
In Sullivan's own piece about the Times article, he refers to a "decline in Google's search quality."
Yet, in an article published on Search Engine Land today, Sullivan proves he is still in Google's camp. While today's piece tackles a different Google issue regarding the EU investigation of Google and antitrust laws, he says, "Google is ultimately a publication … like a newspaper, it can publish whatever it wants."
Marketers may be well-advised to take Sullivan's pro-Google position. As Brafton recently reported, the search giant accounts for more than two-thirds of explicit core searches, proving it is consumers' top choice. Optimizing sites for Google is key to catching traffic.