Google has appointed Prabhakar Raghavan, formerly the head of Google Ads, as the new head of Google Search. As Raghavan moves into this new role in Search, he will continue overseeing Google Ads until the new head is appointed.
Raghavan is, in theory, a great fit considering his long history researching all things search related. He has a PhD and is the author of books and published research papers. Check out his Wikipedia page for more information about his awards and accolades to date.
This is big news for the search community and with it comes two identified areas of concern among SEOs. First, a new leader often means a new way of doing things and sometimes an overzealous personality ends up wanting to fix what simply ain’t broke. Also considering how often Google changes its algorithm and moves the goal posts, it’s tiresome to think we may need to shift our strategies yet again to accommodate a new head of Search. Secondly, Raghavan will be overseeing both Ads and Search simultaneously and this feels precarious. Google product teams operate independently of each other, so Analytics, Ads and Search operate separately and with autonomy. To break the bounds of this separation could end up affecting organic search results as Google Ads and Google Search tend to operate competitively. This is especially true if you do some digging around how Google Ads has started serving up paid advertising to look like organic results.
Of course, Raghavan will only be wearing both hats for a short while, but Google has also announced that the new head of Google Ads will report directly to the head of Search. And so the plot thickens while we all wait with baited breath to see the outcome of this big move.
On a positive note, after doing some investigating into Raghavan, it’s evident this man has ample knowledge on all aspects of search. He clearly enjoys questioning the obvious and through analysis, challenging areas within search tactics that have been simply accepted. In most of his work he tackles user behavior and tries to find ways to better serve the online audience. Here are three research papers worth a read if you want to better understand Google’s new, fierce leader:
Raghavan certainly gets a thumbs up from Search Engine Land’s Greg Sterling, who posted an article saying he believes there’s no better fit for this role. Sterling believes Raghavan has the knowledge, experience and qualifications to take on this influential position at Google.
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