A study was conducted recently to evaluate SEO’s role in influencing people to make decisions related to politics. So if a person is searching something online in relation to a candidate or a topic related to politics, the one ranking the highest is likely to be influencing that particular user more- whether in voting pattern or their outlook. The study also revealed that the rankings and the search results affected the voting pattern by almost 15%. This percentage is large enough in affecting the election-results.
This shows that SEO may of great importance and it is high time in paying it its due respect. Political candidates and organisations invest in SEO just like normal companies in an effort to rank their sites highly in search engines.
It is very much possible in purchasing advertisements that appear on the right side of the results or at the page’s top and all of these will definitely be getting a lot of clicks no doubt. But here, the organic ranking is the top-most treasure if one is planning to influence politics in a sort of meaningful way.
But it does not go to the extent in proving that these search results are manipulated by Google to fit in with the ideologies of the owner or anything of that sort. However, the study does ask a valid question: can Google do this if they want to?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Elections can be directly influenced by Google by manipulating the search results. The algorithm can be altered by them or sites can be filtered out that causes the disagreements in promoting their core beliefs or ideologies. Also, the public will never know whether Google is actually behind all of this until at the very last stage. They will only be seeing a search results list and that is where it draws the line.
At this moment, this study’s results may sound to be a bit disturbing, but one should not let it to concern them too greatly. The indicators show that right now, if one’s site is properly optimized then it will be ranking well. If it proves to be otherwise, then serious efforts should be made in improving the site and the optimization efforts.
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