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Is Google’s ‘Search Bias’ Better for Consumers?

Google LocalResearchers at Harvard Business School and Columbia Law School as part of a collaboration with the Yelp data science team recently concluded that Google was harming consumers by giving preference to their own services. Would consumers be better served by getting a list of directories to choose from?

The study particular targets the local results wherein Google displays listings from Google My Business (formerly Google+ Local) ahead of the organic website results. Yelp’s claim is that this practice gives priority placement to a Google service (Google My Business) that directly competes with them. They also claim this practice leads to inferior results.

While the quality of local results is certainly up for scrutiny, Google has yet to adequately address high-ranking local listings that are keyword stuffing and getting rewarded for it. We are taking the position that the listings that appear under the local results is better for consumers than directory sites. (more…)