Adopting the Google Philosophy

Matthew Gates 16m 3,915 #google

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Google Corporate Culture

Google is constantly changing and updating their algorithm and many web designers, web developers, and companies must continue coming up with new ways to be listed in the Google search engine as a top ranking.

In the old methods, otherwise known as Black Hat SEO, tricks may have been used to try and boost rankings without much effort and many small SEO companies began springing up promising that they could get anyone listed as #1 on a Google Page Listing. Of course, these were lies, and they would rank their customers for keywords that were not even part of the business or their website.

This worked for the short-term, but you cannot fool the giant search engine, Google. While many may think Google is against them, Google loves new content and loves websites with fresh and innovative ideas. For the “get listed quick” schemes, Google developed Ad Sense. For everyone else, Google has the answer right in their philosophy, and if you follow their philosophy, everything else will follow and you will be listed naturally; and many of your visitors, readers, and customers will find you naturally.

You can read the entire Google Philosophy on their website.

Rather than just focusing on Google Philosophy, I wrote a quick crash course to summarize Google Philosophy in my own words on what you need to be doing in order to be a successful website or business that actually gets listed or recognized by Google. They tell you everything you need to know, no cheating and no shortcuts necessary, but you do need to follow and understand their philosophy in order to succeed.

Apply Google Philosophy to your website and you will never be hit by a Google Panda, Google Penguin, or Google [insert animal here]. While there are never any guarantees, Google will always do its best to abide by its own philosophy, which is probably drilled into the engineers, the programmers, the webspam team, the security team, and all the employees of Google. Follow the Google Philosophy and your website will most likely be safe.

There may be times where it will look like your website got hit, but in retrospect, your information is old and outdated, and newer information is put forth above yours. If you are constantly updating and putting out new and valued information, you will always have the advantage of being listed in a Google search, especially for specific keywords that you are focusing on.

Google claims they began this list when they first started up and they chose a top 10 list. Why a list of 10 as their philosophy? Because 9 is too little and 11 is too much. Only Google knows why but 10 is good enough.


1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.

Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line. Our homepage interface is clear and simple, and pages load instantly. Placement in search results is never sold to anyone, and advertising is not only clearly marked as such, it offers relevant content and is not distracting. And when we build new tools and applications, we believe they should work so well you don’t have to consider how they might have been designed differently.


Google cannot exist without visitors (e.g. customers), so everything they do, they always have you in mind. They want to give you the best Internet experience possible; an experience without difficulty or struggle; an experience of fast uncomplicated Internet.

Design your website this way, design easily readable content backed up by resources and research if possible, focusing on delivering the most useful knowledgeable content or products to your visitors, and everything else will follow.


2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.

We do search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better. Through continued iteration on difficult problems, we’ve been able to solve complex issues and provide continuous improvements to a service that already makes finding information a fast and seamless experience for millions of people. Our dedication to improving search helps us apply what we’ve learned to new products, like Gmail and Google Maps. Our hope is to bring the power of search to previously unexplored areas, and to help people access and use even more of the ever-expanding information in their lives.


Google’s primary function and reason for existing is to focus on search and delivering the closest, most accurate results of that specific search. Since Google was created in 1998, they have almost 20 years of experience, if you count the brainstorming and vision that went into building the company. While Google has rolled out other products, they are still good at one thing: delivering to their visitors the most accurate search results.

If your company or website is focused on one thing, your chances of success will be better for you and your visitors. If you know coffee, than focus on delivering knowledge, information, and products on coffee. If you know fashion, than focus on delivering knowledge, information, and products on fashion. Focusing on too much at once without a clear vision is like focusing on nothing at all and you are likely to lose visitors who cannot understand your goals, visions, or your information.


3. Fast is better than slow.

We know your time is valuable, so when you’re seeking an answer on the web you want it right away–and we aim to please. We may be the only people in the world who can say our goal is to have people leave our website as quickly as possible. By shaving excess bits and bytes from our pages and increasing the efficiency of our serving environment, we’ve broken our own speed records many times over, so that the average response time on a search result is a fraction of a second. We keep speed in mind with each new product we release, whether it’s a mobile application or Google Chrome, a browser designed to be fast enough for the modern web. And we continue to work on making it all go even faster.


Google does its best to deliver you results in seconds because it values your time. It has no patience for slowness, just as it knows most human beings want things right yesterday (or now). Speed is highly valued and when Google provides you results in an instant, it knows it has done its job.

There is nothing worse than going shopping and having to wait in a long line to pay for the merchandise you just picked out, as you wait for the cashiers to ring up other customers. Having the correct amount of staff on during the day when its mostly keeps the lines down and customers happy. Keeping a customer waiting on line or on the phone will drop satisfaction, as most people do not want to wait. They want to pay for their merchandise and leave, or if on the phone, they want answers right away. Keeping any customers or visitors waiting that are dealing with your business is not good for business.

Compare that to being on your website: If your website is loaded with advertisements and unnecessary clutter, you are making your visitor or customer wait for your website to load, waiting for content or images to load, and you are basically doing the same thing: making them wait. No one wants to wait for anything to load, especially in this day and age of fast Internet connections and speed.

Make sure your website loads fast, your content is delivered fast, and customers can navigate quickly and thoroughly through your website without interference. Delivering to them the best experience will keep them coming back.


4. Democracy on the web works.

Google search works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value. We assess the importance of every web page using more than 200 signals and a variety of techniques, including our patented PageRank™ algorithm, which analyzes which sites have been “voted” to be the best sources of information by other pages across the web. As the web gets bigger, this approach actually improves, as each new site is another point of information and another vote to be counted. In the same vein, we are active in open source software development, where innovation takes place through the collective effort of many programmers.


Google is always open to new ideas and innovation from its employees and open-source programmers that contribute to projects. Google uses analytics to determine which websites are more popular than others and what gets more clicks, visits, and return visits. In doing so, Google can deliver the best results to its visitors and searchers.

If a customer or visitor has an idea or suggestion about your business or website, take it literally and take it seriously. They took the time to think up and write to you about your business, so if it is applicable and will help your business, be open to new ideas and innovation to help improve your business or website. The moment your business begins to lack ideas and innovation is the downfall of your business or website.


5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.

The world is increasingly mobile: people want access to information wherever they are, whenever they need it. We’re pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions for mobile services that help people all over the globe to do any number of tasks on their phone, from checking email and calendar events to watching videos, not to mention the several different ways to access Google search on a phone. In addition, we’re hoping to fuel greater innovation for mobile users everywhere with Android, a free, open source mobile platform. Android brings the openness that shaped the Internet to the mobile world. Not only does Android benefit consumers, who have more choice and innovative new mobile experiences, but it opens up revenue opportunities for carriers, manufacturers and developers.


Google knows people are not just sitting at home, on their computers, looking up information. In fact, they know this very well, as they are the ones who developed the Android OS, which is on millions of smartphones. Google wants the world to be able to access information at any time they want.

Your business or website should be able to provide visitors or customers with access to information anytime they want, no matter where they are, no matter how they access it, and no matter what time of day it is. Make your website accessible to both computer, mobile, and tablet users by developing a user-friendly interchangeable design. Read more about CSS Responsive Design.


6. You can make money without doing evil.

Google is a business. The revenue we generate is derived from offering search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on our site and on other sites across the web. Hundreds of thousands of advertisers worldwide use AdWords to promote their products; hundreds of thousands of publishers take advantage of our AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to their site content. To ensure that we’re ultimately serving all our users (whether they are advertisers or not), we have a set of guiding principles for our advertising programs and practices:

  • We don’t allow ads to be displayed on our results pages unless they are relevant where they are shown. And we firmly believe that ads can provide useful information if, and only if, they are relevant to what you wish to find–so it’s possible that certain searches won’t lead to any ads at all.
  • We believe that advertising can be effective without being flashy. We don’t accept pop–up advertising, which interferes with your ability to see the content you’ve requested. We’ve found that text ads that are relevant to the person reading them draw much higher clickthrough rates than ads appearing randomly. Any advertiser, whether small or large, can take advantage of this highly targeted medium.
  • Advertising on Google is always clearly identified as a “Sponsored Link,” so it does not compromise the integrity of our search results. We never manipulate rankings to put our partners higher in our search results and no one can buy better PageRank. Our users trust our objectivity and no short-term gain could ever justify breaching that trust.


While Google is a for-profit business and enjoys the benefits of making money like any other company, Google is not after ripping people off, cheating people, or getting money from them. Google wants to deliver its business and ensure their customers are satisfied with the product. Anything less and Google did not do its job well.

Just like a customer who orders a sandwich without cheese, but receives cheese on it, the final result was not delivered well, and all measures should be taken to ensure that customer is satisfied. Your website or business should do all it can to ensure your customers are first. Old crude business practices were about getting money from the customer, regardless of whether the customer was satisfied or not. This business practice is not sustainable in the long run and is a guaranteed method to lose customers. By having satisfied customers, even if it means losing some money in the short-term, your customers will be very happy with your business or website services and continue to return, use them, and recommend them to friends and family.

In this day and age of business and company reviews, with emphasis from Google PlusYelp!, or the BBB, your business or company website cannot afford bad reviews. These review websites are like your permanent record, and recovering from them may take many years, if recovery is ever possible at all. A customer review goes a long way because the majority of customers, despite whether they gave an accurate or inaccurate review, have great say when it comes to your business, and they may be what draws in many new customers, or prevents many new ones from ever giving your business a chance. Do your best to ensure your customers are satisfied.


7. There’s always more information out there.

Once we’d indexed more of the HTML pages on the Internet than any other search service, our engineers turned their attention to information that was not as readily accessible. Sometimes it was just a matter of integrating new databases into search, such as adding a phone number and address lookup and a business directory. Other efforts required a bit more creativity, like adding the ability to search news archives, patents, academic journals, billions of images and millions of books. And our researchers continue looking into ways to bring all the world’s information to people seeking answers.


Google knows that new information is created and published everyday. They have thousands of machines, robots, and algorithms, discovering new information, categorizing new information, and figuring out new ways to classify this new information into their search database. From searching old archives, new patents, academic journals, medical conditions, new images, or even the contents of books, Google is always seeking new ways to archive our world from the physical to the digital.

Your business or website should always be looking for new ways to provide updated relevant accurate useful information to your visitors or customers. In our ever-changing fast world of technology and information, within a week, most information is already old and outdated. Whether you are a news website, a website dedicated to selling coffee products, there is always new information out there, so focus on delivering the latest up to date information to your visitors and being a company that is always prepared and ready for change, especially with the latest trends and technology.


8. The need for information crosses all borders.

Our company was founded in California, but our mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, and in every language. To that end, we have offices in more than 60 countries, maintain more than 180 Internet domains, and serve more than half of our results to people living outside the United States. We offer Google’s search interface in more than 130 languages, offer people the ability to restrict results to content written in their own language, and aim to provide the rest of our applications and products in as many languages and accessible formats as possible. Using our translation tools, people can discover content written on the other side of the world in languages they don’t speak. With these tools and the help of volunteer translators, we have been able to greatly improve both the variety and quality of services we can offer in even the most far–flung corners of the globe.


Although Google is based in the United States in the state of California, it is not just a company dedicated to Americans or a business that only understands the English language. Google’s visitors and customers involve people and businesses from around the world, who do not speak a word of English. Google offers their services in over 130 languages and does its best to improve everyday, including hiring employees who speak other languages and can help improve their services for all countries. Google has made itself a global business dedicated to delivering information to the entire globe without the barriers of language blocking its progress.

Your website or business should focus on delivering products, knowledge, and information to a global audience, if your company wishes to expand. Language should never be a barrier and by hiring employees who speak other languages, or delivering services to a country outside of the United States, your chances for success and being discovered are increased greatly. Consider becoming an international business or website.


9. You can be serious without a suit.

Our founders built Google around the idea that work should be challenging, and the challenge should be fun. We believe that great, creative things are more likely to happen with the right company culture–and that doesn’t just mean lava lamps and rubber balls. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to our overall success. We put great stock in our employees–energetic, passionate people from diverse backgrounds with creative approaches to work, play and life. Our atmosphere may be casual, but as new ideas emerge in a café line, at a team meeting or at the gym, they are traded, tested and put into practice with dizzying speed–and they may be the launch pad for a new project destined for worldwide use.


While Google is a professional business that takes itself very seriously, it still knows how and when to have fun, encouraging fun activities among its employees, and providing the services to do so. Even in its own products, the “fun” can be seen in Google – from the constantly changing Google logo, which caters to holidays and days in history, to the ever-changing products Google is always improving. Not being serious all the time does inspire more creativity, innovation, and new ideas.

Your business or website should also seek to inspire creativity, innovation, and new ideas. From design, to content, to products, your business has the opportunity to change the world and make a difference. However your business or website decides to present its image, it should inspirational, encouraging, and unique.


10. Great just isn’t good enough.

We see being great at something as a starting point, not an endpoint. We set ourselves goals we know we can’t reach yet, because we know that by stretching to meet them we can get further than we expected. Through innovation and iteration, we aim to take things that work well and improve upon them in unexpected ways. For example, when one of our engineers saw that search worked well for properly spelled words, he wondered about how it handled typos. That led him to create an intuitive and more helpful spell checker.Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, finding an answer on the web is our problem, not yours. We try to anticipate needs not yet articulated by our global audience, and meet them with products and services that set new standards. When we launched Gmail, it had more storage space than any email service available. In retrospect offering that seems obvious–but that’s because now we have new standards for email storage. Those are the kinds of changes we seek to make, and we’re always looking for new places where we can make a difference. Ultimately, our constant dissatisfaction with the way things are becomes the driving force behind everything we do.


Any company can be great, but great is never good enough when there is always room for improvement. Google knows and understands this point very well: As a technology company catering to the world, the work is never done.  Technology is always changing and advancing, and therefore, Google must always keep up and be ahead of the game. Google knows that after it goes the extra mile when providing its services, it must go even further, and think outside the box. Google is a company that is never satisfied with itself, knowing it can always do better. This is a great paranoia for any company to have, as it must always strive to be the best at what it does, and even in being the best, it can always be better.

As you build up your company or your website, you may feel satisfied with how far you have made it, how successful your business is, but deep in your mind, you know there is always room for improvement and there is always something you can do to make your business better than it is. By never being truly satisfied and always striving for more, your business or website will naturally follow the latest trends and technology and you will be able to keep up with the ever-changing world. When you think your company or website is doing well and has done good enough, your company can do so much more. Strive to be more than just great, strive to be the best.


Google has provided a very strong solid foundation of their philosophy on their website and with a little interpretation, can be used for any company or website philosophy in order to succeed and do well. While any company can take the time to write their own philosophy, Google has become a global success and a billion dollar industry. By following the philosophy they wrote and applying it as your own, you are almost certainly guaranteed to do well.

The Google Philosophy is not a cheat sheet, a Black Hat SEO technique, or a quick way of doing things, but rather, a corporate culture, a company culture, or a business lifestyle and business mindset to understand and to adopt as a way to operate and function as a business. Applying these techniques and even interpreting them in your own way will help you succeed in your own business or website endeavors.

Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.