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Does Google manually influence its search results?

Some webmasters have seen referrer URLs in their web site log files that start with and end with an email address. The web site exists but it is only available if you have login information and access it from a special network.

Do humans change Google's search results?

It has turned out that is some kind of quality center. Google pays people from all over the world US$10 to US$20 per hour to check Google search results every day.

These people, called International Agents at Google, seem to have been recruited through universities. There is also a job posting for Google quality raters on

Google Inc. is recruiting part-time, temporary, home-based workers to help with work on a search quality evaluation on a project basis. [...]

Candidates will evaluate search results and rate their relevance. Thus, all candidates must be web-savvy and analytical, have excellent web research skills and a broad range of interests. Specific areas of expertise are highly desirable.

An official Google spokesman has confirmed that the quality center exists and that real people rate the quality of search results.

What does this mean to your web site?

As long as you didn't optimize your web site with shady tricks, this means nothing to your web site. The human reviewer try to filter web pages that use unethical search engine optimization methods such as cloaking, hidden text, etc. from the search results.

We've said it before in our newsletter: ethical search engine optimization is about everyone winning.

  • Search engines: They win as they are provided with pages that are easy to understand and that contain the quality information that their visitors search for.
  • Searchers: They win as they are getting what they ask for from the search engines. They search for "green widgets" and get a page about green widgets.
  • Web site owners: They win as they are getting quality visitors who are interested in what their web site has to offer.

As long as you optimize your web pages with ethical search engine optimization methods, you don't have to be afraid of human reviewers.

If you want to know how to optimize your web site with ethical search engine optimization methods, take a look at our free guide to ethical search engine optimization.

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June 2005 search engine articles