SEO News You Can Use: Why the U.S. Department of Justice is Suing Google | SEOblog.com

SEO News You Can Use: Why the U.S. Department of Justice is Suing Google

Megan Sell
SEO News You Can Use

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If you’ve been following the investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) into Google, you know it had been just a matter of time before the investigation would turn into litigation. Last Tuesday, the other shoe dropped, and the Trump Administration sued Google in what is considered a landmark antitrust lawsuit. This comes after a year-long probe into the search giant’s alleged anti-competitive practices. 

The last time a tech company faced such enormous allegations of antitrust behavior was in 1998, and the company in question was Microsoft. That lawsuit finally went into effect in 2001 as a settlement, but many people believe it changed the technology industry and could even be the reason for Google’s unparalleled success over the past two decades. One of NPR’s latest podcasts, hosted by Tonya Mosley, is a deepdive comparison between the Microsoft antitrust suit of the late 90s and today’s Google lawsuit. 

You can read the full 64-page lawsuit against Google to better understand the finer details of this complicated case. The suit is signed and supported by 11 states represented by Republican attorney generals from Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, South Carolina and Montana. The suit also cites the Sherman Antitrust Act that specifically outlaws the monopoly of any commerce in the U.S. For a quick overview of the DoJ’s allegations and Google’s responses, check out this Search Engine Journal article by Matt Southern.

If you’ve followed this story, the allegations against Google are nothing you haven’t heard before. The suit tackles all of Google’s practices that prevent its counterparts from competing in the Search space. You can expect to hear a lot more about Google’s supposed stranglehold over device manufacturers and browser developers – it’s believed Google pays millions of dollars to the likes of Apple, Samsung, LG and Motorola, as well as to Opera and Mozilla. And the executives at companies directly impacted by Google’s tactics are starting to show their support for the DoJ’s legal action. 

DuckDuckGo chief executive Gabriel Weinberg took to Twitter to show his support for the lawsuit. Weinberg tweeted:

“We’re pleased the DoJ has taken this key step in holding Google accountable for the ways it has blocked competition, locked people into using its products and achieved a market position so dominant they refuse to even talk about it out loud.” 

Yelp, a company that has made no secret of its disdain for Google’s alleged illegal tactics, has offered its support of the DoJ as well. In a statement, Yelp said:

“By systematically reducing the quality of its search results in order to entrench and extend its search and search advertising monopolies, Google is directly harming consumers. Yelp applauds the work of the DoJ and encourages swift action by state attorney generals who are conducting parallel investigations into other aspects of Google’s business.”

The timing of this lawsuit is interesting, too, with the U.S. presidential election set for Nov. 3. In the event that President Donald Trump is not re-elected, there will be a major shift in the personnel at DoJ and, inevitably, if the department undergoes a shift in staffing, it will impact this case.

So while this story is a juicy one and the outcome of the lawsuit will have a global impact, we shouldn’t expect any updates until after election day. Even then, we should measure our expectations as this debacle is years in the making and will take just as long (if not longer) to conclude.

More SEO News You Can Use

Hyper-Personalized Marketing is Freaking Out Everyone; Here’s What Marketers Need to Do: Targeted advertising has been a cause of concern for most online users for a while now. It’s not uncommon to hear people speculating about our devices “listening” in on, or even recording, our conversations. How else would the internet know to serve us specific adverts at specific, uncannily appropriate times? Danielle Bilbruck addresses the creep-factor in her article for Search Engine Journal about targeted advertising, and offers some suggestions for digital marketers. 

Google Continues to Update its GMB Tools to Assist Businesses, But Only Four GMB Fields Actually Affect Your Ranking: You’ve probably noticed that there are a number of customization fields available to help you refine your Google My Business (GMB) profile. Choosing which ones to use can be overwhelming. Joy Hawkins, owner/founder of Sterling Sky, has hosted a brand-new Whiteboard Friday for Moz, in which she discusses which fields in GMB actually help you get to the top of the search results. 

Proving ROI for SEO is a Big Issue Faced by Marketers and Agencies Alike, But Here’s a Guide: Calculating your return on investment (ROI) for your SEO efforts is tricky. Most SEOs rely on keyword volume to back up their efforts or promises to clients. Most times that’s simply not enough, so Jenn Mathews has put together a six-step guide that will assist you in creating a spreadsheet where you can calculate ROI for your SEO activities. You can find this informative guide on Search Engine Journal.

Google Announces AI Search Updates That Improve 7% of Global Queries: Google announced that its AI (artificial intelligence) update will impact how sites are ranked and affect SEO and publishing. Last week, Google’s Danny Sullivan shared some more information about the upcoming update. Sullivan said the update would improve all global Search queries by seven percent as Google will be able to identify specific passages on a webpage, thereby better understanding the relevancy of a page. Of course, this means some webpages that have been overlooked will begin to be served up to suitable user queries. Sullivan has confirmed there’s no action SEOs and webmasters need to take and he cannot provide a date for when this update will occur. 

Do You Remember That Google Will be Hiding Search Term Data in the Google Ads Report? If that upset you as much as it did the rest of the search and digital marketing community, you should review this petition. Greg Finn, digital marketer and podcast host, created this petition to get Google to give advertisers the option to opt-out from receiving clicks on the data Google has identified as “not significant” enough to show in the report. As we know, petitions don’t always result in noteworthy changes, but with Google currently facing serious criticism (see the lead story), maybe it’ll concede to keep its advertisers placated. 

Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on SEOblog.com, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make SEOblog.com a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.

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