Will we finally know more about the mystery behind rankings?

In a powerful ruling that could potentially change and open up the world of the science and principles behind organic rankings forever, the EU are proposing to introduce new rules which will mean that that likes of Google and others will need to reveal to the public about their ranking factors. There is a feeling that the EU are trying to address a massive power imbalance (and what some would regard as a monopoly) between all these companies.

The report has been designed so that these new rules will mean those entities such as search engines and similar commerce websites will have to show how and why they rank results as they do, and perhaps more importantly how penalties are applied or reasons why people are removed from the results etc.

As suggested above, the purpose behind this is to make things more transparent and to show smaller companies what needs to be done so the field is level for all.

It is believed that the new rules will not require the forcing of the science behind algorithms to be disclosed, but how ranking factors relate to how the quality of  products / companies / websites are will be.

On this:

* Some would argue that the proposals don’t go far enough and ranking algorithms should be disclosed to make it fair and transparent for all.

* Others would argue that by explanation of the rules being forced, it is as good as decoding ranking algorithms anyway?

Some of you may be sitting reading this thinking we already know what ranking signals are as Google (and sometimes the others) provide insight into what factors are to be taken into account when optimising a website. In that, it could be argued that these proposals may offer nothing new. The general consensus seems to be that no one really knows because it seems that everyone has a slightly different opinion – enough to make it completely unclear. It is hoped that these rules may bring a better alignment to this question.

The new rules also state that any changes must be accompanied by an advanced warning of 15 days and should not be applied retrospectively. The new rules also propose that where any of these companies compete with others in the market, any special preferences would need to be disclosed – again in an attempt to make this clear and transparent one would presume.

Remember that for now, these are only proposals and during this month of April, this process will advance further through the EU member states to see if it will become law.

Of course, and as with any of these things, the devil is in the detail and the deeper meanings and reasons are what counts.

Will it make a big difference to the way people interact with and optimise their sites for search engines?

Well if you believe it is already known what makes ranking factors then probably not, but it is clearly obvious the EU and other institutions do not think this and perhaps even the smallest (or possibly large?) insight might make a lot of difference.

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