Will Google edit search results manually ? Looks like they might

This came to me as a shocker, and just like you, I dismissed it saying “yet another claim” initially. But curious, I took another look into the matter and it looks like that there might be some “substance” in the claims. Let’s check some details.


Google has repeatedly claimed that they don’t interfere with anything manually on the SERPs. They insist that everything is “as generated by the bots”, and there’s nothing you can do to manipulate them.

But there are examples where we’ve found that if you have the right influence, things can be manipulated.

The John Chow Story:
Play dirty – Get banned – Befriend Matt Cutts – Get Back on SERPs !

John Chow, who runs the blog johnchow.com had been banned / penalized from Google regular SERPs for violating the Google TOS. He had been involved in a major scam where he encouraged bloggers to link to his blog with a particular keyword. This resulted in johnchow’s blog appearing on the top results in record time. When spotted, Google penalized the blog and it couldn’t be found via organic searches on Google.

But after about 2 years, Johnchow got back to Google and he posted in his blog that he contacted Google Engineer Matt Cutts through Neil Patel and he got the ban lifted.

Many SEO’s and bloggers believed that if you do something as nasty as what John did, you’re doomed for life. But apparently, if you have the right connections, you can sneak through.


The Henk Van Ess Revelations :
Google employs an army of people to grade websites, instead of algorithms

image Henk Van Ess is a dutch journalist who revealed that Google employed a large army of people who rank search results and entries in those results. (Details here) He also reveals that Google secretly (or not) removes links from its search results upon complaints from people manually. This website has the details of links that were removed from Google.

Here’s an example of a latter to Google, requesting removal of an URL.

Sender Information:
Magnolia Pictures
Sent by:
Web Sheriff
London, UK

Recipient Information:
Google, Inc.
Mountain View, CA, USA

Sent via: email

1. Rights Owner(s) : *MAGNOLIA PICTURES INC.
2. Rights Agent : *WEB SHERIFF
4. Infringed Movie(s) : *DISTRICT 13 – ULTIMATUM / BANLIEUE 13 – ULTIMATUM /
6. Infringing Web Site : blogspot.com
7. Infringing File Location(s) :
8. DMCA Request : Please remove Infringed Movie(s) from Infringing File
Location(s) ASAP : thank you.
9. Signature :[redacted]
for and on behalf of
London W6 9DX
United Kingdom
Tel 44-[redacted]
Fax 44-[redacted]

Full letter text here

The Michelle Obama Story

This one’s popular. Searching for the first lady’s name on Google images search will surprise you as Google shows a photoshopped image of a chimp.


But if you look at the ad right above, it says something about offensive search results.

The page says –

Search engines are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the Internet. A site’s ranking in Google’s search results relies heavily on computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page’s relevance to a given query.

The beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google, as well as the opinions of the general public, do not determine or impact our search results.

Hmm, that’s a tricky one. So why didn’t Google take this stand in John Chow’s case ? Or why don’t they remove this particular search from the SERPs ?

So, what it looks like, Google might occasionally , in particular situations manually “manipulate” the SERPs by removing / adding links from it. Of course, they have their own justifications for each case and mostly they would be legitimate. But I think this raises a question to all of the webmaster SEO community, “Is the most widely used search engine completely trustable ? What if they screwed up ? Would you allow them to ?”

12 Responses

  1. Liked the new look, Mani! New colours make it look refreshing! :-) Vandana!

  2. Everyone tries to make the best of the fair advantage over others. Google has its own ways to do things unless some one like you take a deep dig at it! Nothing is fool proof 😉

  3. interesting, but i wouldn’t be so sure bout it.

  4. Interesting. Personally, I can think of any reason why Google wouldn’t go manual. They have the people, so why not?

  5. Good Post and new look!…

  6. actually i think banning the blog is not the right way. In todays SEO many peoples are exploiting social media platform for their site promotion and their links are included in google SERP. So if someone is exploiting your algorithm then change to block those rather than blocking manually. As doing such things you are doing injustice to the person.

  7. Interesting, but it seems unfair to treat others the way is

  8. Interesting find Mani.

  9. Anonymous

    yes they do, google employs search quality evaluators whose primary job is to evaluate websites based on google webmaster guidelines & filter out websites from search results which might abuse google’s guidelines by doing blackhat seo & other methods. they do influence search results by a manual effort

    How do i know all this – Coz i worked at Google in the Search quality department