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Can Google Avoid Antitrust Practices With New SEO Firm?

Google SEO Firm

As rumors of a Google SEO firm abounded in early 2010, Google finally settled the rumormill by announcing that it will indeed open its own SEO specialization firm sometime in mid 2010. What does this new service from Google mean for the industry of SEO?

There is no disputing that Google possesses the lion’s share of the search engine industry with about 70% domestically in North America in early 2010 reported by the San Francisco Business Times. Google became popular in the early 2000s when it introduced its new search algorithm that included additional ranking features outside of just keywords within a website or webpage. The basis for Google’s algorithm still remains a trade secret, but does include a confirmed ranking basis of outside links to a particular website. With its superior search technology, Google has been and remains the top search engine.

But trying to figure out how to get included and achieve high rankings in Google searches has opened an entire new industry – search engine optimization (SEO). Google has been very vocal about what helps a webpage get noticed by ‘bots’ by publishing tips and tricks through its own blog and webmasters services pages. But never has Google joined the ‘professional’ SEO services until now.

Google came close to creating a controversy and SEO competition frenzy back in 2008 when it acquired DoubleClick. Part of DoubleClick’s internet ad and search services included an SEO optimization firm, Performics. However, to avoid controversy, Google did divest itself of Performics almost immediately by selling it, saying, “It’s clear to us that we do not want to be in the search engine marketing business. Maintaining objectivity in both search and advertising is paramount to Google’s mission and core to the trust we ask from our users.”

So what happened during the last two years to change Google’s “objectivity” position? By launching a new SEO specialization firm it is placing itself smack in the middle of the search, advertising, and marketing fields it so hastily disowned less than 24 months ago.

To make search optimization matters even worse for smaller and mid-size web businesses, Google’s SEO services are expected to cost in the estimated range of $25,000 per month. That will make Google’s SEO firm only an elite and exclusive service for the big businesses who can afford to pay the price. So not only will Google maintain the lion’s share of the world’s search audience, it will provide them with search results to include high-ranked websites of its own customers.

Yes, Google has always been very upfront about how to achieve high rankings on its own search engine. But now with an exclusive SEO paid services firm, it will assure paid clients that they will be placed high on rankings, and very likely remove visibility from other small or medium businesses trying to scratch a living through SEO efforts. Though Google promises to remain ethical and noble through its new SEO firm, it will have to prove within the next year that it does not, in fact, disrupt the internet search and marketing industry by violating antitrust laws.

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