By Michael Northcott Friday, 11 January 2013

EU to throw the (e)book at Google over search rankings

Brussels has made clear that it will force Google to change the way it ranks its search results in Europe, or it will face sanctions under competition law.

The EU’s competition boss, Joaquin Almunia has made clear that he firmly believes Google pushes its own services further up the search rankings, ahead of other companies that provide similar stuff.

The firm was effectively let off the hook last week by US authorities investigating the same issue, but the EU has not let the issue go so lightly.

Almunia, who is running the investigation, told the FT: ‘We are investigating, but my conviction is [that Google is] diverting traffic.’

He added: ‘They are monetising this kind of business, the strong position they have in the general search market. This is not only a dominant position, I think – I fear – there is an abuse of this dominate position.’

Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt met with Almunia just before the Christmas hols to try and thrash out a way of addressing his concerns, and the firm was given a month to come up with some suggestions.

So if you’re business is slipping down the rankings and you don’t know why, things could be about to change. We’ll keep you posted. 

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