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Search Engine Spat Could Be Bad News For Small Businesses

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 2/2/2011

Microsoft and Google square off over search results

An ongoing controversy between search giant Google and rival Microsoft could muddy the waters for small businesses looking to incorporate search engine optimization and other related strategies into their marketing efforts.

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Google reported earlier this month that the company had become suspicious of Bing when they noticed abnormal similarities between its closely-guarded proprietary search algorithm and Microsoft's.

To test their suspicion, Google engineers tweaked the search engine's results for a number of queries made up of strings of random letters, and linked them to webpages that had nothing to do with them. Sure enough, Google said, the nonsensical combinations quickly showed up on Bing, leading the former company to accuse Microsoft of lifting search results.

Microsoft heatedly denies any wrongdoing, accusing Google of feigning outrage and even of staging the incident in order to stave off growing competition in a market it has dominated for years. But the ongoing feud between the two companies could make the small business SEO market a treacherous one for the moment, according to marketing experts.

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