Evidence That Search Engine Results Are Based On Traffic
August 9, 2018
August 9, 2018
The Google 'sting'
The experiment by Google was simple – to see if Bing was copying their search results. To do this they injected false results into nonsense queries – questions that no user would normally entered. Then they set up a useful of new machines running Internet Explorer 8, opted in to the recommend sites feature and started running the nonsensitive queries and clicking on the injected results.
Well obviously, this only makes news because the expected happened. A few years later when these same engineers entered the nonsense queries into Bing, these injected search results appeared top of the Bing results. These sites had been carefully chosen to have no relationship to the results, so somehow the results were copied.
How are they copied?
Well Obviously, Bing can not "test" Google for all possible search results and steal the top result. So they are monitoring traffic and this has been admitted. They are watching the search queries that people are entering and what sites they are then visiting and how long they are staying on these pages.
In fact Bing is using 'opt in' data to monitor search engine traffic and it appears that if you are opted in to the tool bar in Internet Explorer, then Bing is watching your searches and what sites you are visiting.
And what about Google?
I have long since suspected that Google does the same sort of trick and this is the only reason why the PageRank Toolbar is still half maintained and why they provide Feedburner and Analytics for free. What better way is there for a search engine to provide accurate results to its visitors than by promoting those results that previous visitors have found most useful?
Is this a way to 'fake' results?
Of course, finding that traffic is certainly part of the results means that people can now attack the results method to see if they can promote their own websites. However, while this might be possible for low traffic queries, the effort required for high volume traffic is much more.
If your preferred search term already has just 100 searches every day, then to make a statistical difference to the search engines you would need a good number of machines and each one used for the relevant term every day. However, I'm sure the search engines are also watching for machines producing just a few search terms, which are repeated, so do not try it!