Google: there is 'no secret ingredient' for PageRank

Google backs up its transparency
Google backs up its transparency

A Google engineer has hit back at the European Commission's preliminary enquiry into the company's dominance in the search market, noting that there is no secret formula for the way Google ranks sites.

In the company's European Public Policy Blog Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer, Search Quality Team, says that talk of Google not being 'transparent' is 'hard to swallow' and then goes on to explain how Google does things.

"One of the most widely-discussed parts of Google's scoring has always been PageRank. That 'secret ingredient' is hardly a secret," he notes, linking to Sergey Brin and Larry Page's infamous Stanford paper outlining Google's embryonic stages.

Worst-kept secret

Later on in the blog he explains: "We've tried all sorts of experiments to help site owners understand how Google's search ranking works.

"We've done multiple live webmaster chats online with hundreds of simultaneous participants.

"We've experimented with tweeting. We've participated in podcasts.

"And here's one of my favorite ways: we've helped to break out of the black box and give advice to publishers."

He concludes: "criticising Google for its 'secret formula' is an easy claim to make, but it just isn't true.

"Google has worked day after day for years to be open, to educate publishers about how we rank sites, and to answer questions from both publishers and our users.

"So if that's how people choose to define 'secret', then ours must be the worst kept secret in the world of search."

That and if you type in 'Find Chuck Norris' into Google and click on I'm Feeling lucky, you get a pretty awesome reply.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.