I read an article on SourceFed where they questioned Google’s search results on Hillary Clinton. It seems that if you run a search on Google for “hillary clinton cri” you’ll get results like Hillary Clinton crime reform or Hillary Clinton crime bill 1994. On the other hand, if you do the same search on Yahoo! the top results will be Hillary Clinton criminal investigation. This was such a curious result that I decided to do my own bit of investigating.
Now, comparing Google results to those on Yahoo! is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. On the other hand, Google is Google, so their results should be uniform. They’re based on local searches, so unless the people in one country have suddenly developed an interest in a foreign criminal investigation, we should see similar results. I decided to do an international test, using a VPN to run the same search in New York, Los Angeles and Melbourne, all on Google.com. All of the results were similar, with no mention of any crimes.
The curious results happened when I moved to .co.uk., where criminal prosecution was one of the first results on the search. This seemed to say that more people in the UK were searching for information about Hillary Clinton being prosecuted than those in the U.S. This made no sense, so I moved on to google.com.au. I had the same results. Now, I’m not saying that Google is manipulating search results in the U.S., SourceFed is. Still, it’s a very odd result. If you’ve done your own research on this, or if you’ve got any evidence about why this is happening, I’d like to hear your feedback. If there’s an explanation out there, I really want to hear it.
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Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.