Europe Wants Internet Giants To Be More Transparent About How Their Search Algorithms Work

For marketers, one of the key pieces when working on the online presence of their brands is to ‘read’ the algorithms. Appearing in the prominent positions of search engines (Google, especially, but also on pages like Amazon, which has become crucial in product searches ) is decisive.

A good SEO strategy means being there where consumers are looking for your product and increasing connection and sales opportunities. It also involves doing in-depth work trying to guess what is going on and what works. Marketers fly, in the end, blind.

The different platforms do not give clear reasons about what leads some content to rank better than others. No matter how general their instructions are (for example, that relevant and quality content are awarded), they do not allow us to know exactly what to do to reach consumers in privileged positions.

To do this, marketers must do almost alchemy, reading between the lines and fine-tuning their SEO strategy. Of course, all that work falls almost like a house of cards when online platforms change the rules. Every change in Google’s algorithm – and the search engine just closed one – almost means starting over.

It is necessary to understand again what interests the search engine and what type of content it rewards. But is that moment called to disappear? Are online platforms going to have to be much more transparent with how their algorithms work and with what makes some content achieve better positions than others? That is what the European Union wants.

The latest guide that the European Commission has presented on how online companies should act in Europe already marks that path. “These guides set the standard for transparency in ranking by algorithms and will increase fairness in the online platform economy, which drives innovation and the well-being of millions of Europeans,” says Margrethe Vestager, Community Officer for Digital Affairs, as picks up AP.

How the giants should behave
The guidelines established by the Commission indicate that the network giants, such as Google or Amazon, should be more transparent about how search results work on their platforms. That is, companies should be more clear about what makes their products and services appear better or worse positioned in the results of their search engines.

Internet companies, they explain in AP in line with what the Commission has published, will have to share with companies in general the necessary information so that they can improve their profile on the network. Thus, for example, they will have to reveal the main factors that their algorithms take into account when determining what is most important.

Likewise, they must also make it clear what consequences paying has in search results. The Commission’s guide, as explained on the EU website, is a complement to community transparency laws and “the first of its kind at a global level”. They are not “legally binding”, but function as an aid for the network giants to comply with European standards.

That is, in any case, platforms have an obligation to be transparent (and they have to do so since the entry into force of a regulation in July this year). The guides give you suggestions on how you can do it.

In addition, these rules tell internet companies somewhat where the shots will go in community regulations and in the concerns of the EU. As the AP recalls, it is expected that in the coming days the European Union will present new regulatory packages that limit the power of large internet companies.

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