Being highly ranked in search results is a crucial metric for many businesses. While quite often this can evoke the idea of shady companies built on little more than some search-engine optimization, it creates some hefty issues for more legitimate companies as well. Decisions such as name changes or shifts from .net to .com domains are being influenced by how they'll effect search results, with many companies frustrated with the feeling of being held ransom by their Google rank or other factors. This frustration grows when search companies aren't particularly helpful to businesses making legitimate changes, preferring to let their algorithms, which often ignore certain kinds of behavior because they signal fraud or other funny business, handle everything. While it's certainly well within the rights of a company like Google to tinker with its algorithm, it and other search engines' vast amount of influence over sites' traffic and business could make many people feel they have some responsibility to make things a little easier for the legitimate companies that aren't looking to scam the system. Of course, that's a very fine line: when does optimizing a site to make it easier for search engines to crawl it crossover into the realm of manipulation? And if a business is built around monetizing traffic from search, does that make it less legitimate than a company in some other, more generally accepted line of work?
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