More than any other company, Google is responsible for the current SEO landscape. As the world’s largest search engine they set guidelines worldwide for what kind of content will make Page 1. And by making those guidelines ever tighter, they good SEO a must for online success. Ironically, now Google now finds itself on the opposite side of the fence: it needs help getting its own websites to rank well.
At least, that’s the message sent by a recent job posting. Google is hiring for a “Program Manager, Search Engine Optimization.” And as Search Engine Land points out, this is not a let’s-tweak-the-algorithm kind of role, it’s a marketing one. The position description focused on driving more traffic and growth for “international websites” owned by Google.
In a way, that’s like a police department hiring security guards to watch the precinct.
Why Would Google Need SEO?
At a glance the posting seems ridiculous. The only one who decides what ranks well on Google is Google itself, so why would they need an SEO manager? But Google can’t just nudge its own websites to the top of the pile. The quality of Google’s product relies on users finding the most helpful or relevant results. If it artificially up-ranked its own sites, it would risk giving a bad user experience for transparent self-serving reasons. It would hurt the bottom line.
There could also be legalities. Privileging its own web properties could be construed a breaking anti-trust rules. Indeed, the SEO position may exist as much to deter such accusations as to actually improve Google’s rankings.
But the biggest reason is practical. Google isn’t just Google.com anymore, it’s hundreds if not thousands of websites, features, services and products, from well-known giants like Youtube and Gmail to niche services like Google Analytics. Some of these services are a decade old, some were developed experimentally and exploded overnight, others were bought from competitors. There’s no way they’re all equally optimized. (A Google search for email services currently returns Yandex Mail (!) on Page 1 but not Gmail.)
All of the above assumes that Google want to optimize its properties for Google. But what if that’s not the objective? Could they actually be focusing on ranking in Bing results? That would constitute a fascinating “invasion” where Bing points its users to Google products before Microsoft products.
We can’t know what internal goals Google has for hiring a marketing-focused SEO manager. But one thing that should be clear: when even the leading search engine needs help ranking in search results, SEO is not optional. If your business needs help ranking, let EverSpark Interactive put you on Page 1. We offer a free consultation and results you can count on.