Search Neutrality: What is it and Should You be worried?

Search Neutrality: What is it and Should You be worried?

The ability of being able to quickly search for information has been one of the key innovations that reshaped modern day living. Never has it been as easy for anyone to gain access and control of various forms of media from all corners of the globe. From a business perspective, this created an entire industries based on the simple idea of improving rank order of websites in popular search engines. Los Angeles SEO Consultants, SEO specialists, and the companies who own the search engines themselves are all main proponents of a still growing enterprise. And with such growth comes state regulations to ensure that everyone is somehow still playing at a level field. And this is when the idea of search neutrality is born.

Search neutrality, similar to net neutrality, is the concept of ensuring that every information on the internet is treated equal as they are searched by internet users. Since the search engine market is controlled almost exclusively by a couple of giant techs, the discussion will almost always revolve around them.

In detail, net neutrality is a principle that states that search engines should not exercise any editorial policy and that the comprehensive result be impartial and rankings be based solely on relevance. This means that whenever an online user avails of a search engine’s services, the most relevant links should be displayed first with no interference from the search engine itself.


Problems ahead

Despite being a sound argument, many problems hound the full implementation of search neutrality. These include the troubles associated with having to impose policies to monitor entities that is difficult to audit simply because search services are run a few million times in a single minute alone. Other problems related to infrastructure includes the need to scour search engine data which may reach a few petabytes.

Current search engine implementation is generally not neutral as part of the selling point of search engines is to be able to provide users the exact information that they are looking for. Thus these services will add more weight to links to sites that seem to appeal to more audiences. They will factor in metrics such as how long a user stays on websites, how many different users visit the site and how often the content in the site changes.

Another point of concern for search engines with regards to search neutrality is losing their ability to filter links and blackmail domains in their search results. Some search engine sites pride their services with the assurance of surveying for original content before presenting the results to the users. This is a response to the early days of the internet when plagiarism was an effective tool to rank ahead in search engine results. There some other methods to improve rankings as well that search engines wish to put an end to. Methods like padding search queries by overloading pages with keywords that are not relevant to the topic.

Why there is a clamor for it

Refreshingly, the internet has always been a level playing field even for websites that are just starting up. This is because the capital that is needed to be put up is fairly low compared to starting up businesses and because, up until recently, it was governed by net neutrality. Because of this, the internet has produced start ups that was able to supplant established brands. A notable example is how social media has seen the fall of major competitors to make way for newly established.

In the early days, search engines have played a big part by giving relatively fair exposure to websites through searches. By then, the power that search engines had over what was going to be the content of the internet itself was apparent. This is the time when Los Angeles SEO Consultants and SEO specialists made a living by outranking competitor sites on search engine results.

As a result of business growths and profits directly being affected by search ranks, the clamor to retain the neutrality in searching have grown. But will go directly against what was then the search engine’s main form of revenue which were ads. By paying the search engines, a company can have the advantage of being on the first lines of searches along with the other searches. They will, however, be marked as ads to disclose the information to the one doing the search.

Pros and Cons

Despite being one of the tenets of the internet which made it what it is today, there are still things that are to be considered or the whole idea backfires. Here is a list of the advantages that search neutrality brings followed immediately by the disadvantages.


  • Users get what they need – If searches are unobstructed by ads paid for by third parties, they should be able to provide relevant links to the search keywords that the user provides. While there is no assurance that the searches will display the exact content that the user wanted, ads will making it even more difficult for users to scrutinize search results as an extra layer of checking have to be employed.
  • Quality of searches – Companies will pay search engines to put their links to the top of the search ranking. This means that the content of their websites will no longer have to be examined by the search engine if it is considered relevant to the search or if it adheres to the level of quality that the search engine adheres to.


  • Search metrics – The algorithm that ranks search results is often proprietary to the host that owns the search engine. This is the bread and butter of the service and a big part of what they are paid to do. Because there are many ways on how to ensure that searches are ensured to display only relevant results every time a user searches, creating a standard for all search engines to follow might limit creativity.

Any Los Angeles SEO Consultant should be able to advise you on the implications of search neutrality has to your website.

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