Website administrators can continue to opt out of appearing in Google Search results. The search giant settled an antitrust probe with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in 2012 by agreeing to allow websites to opt out of appearing in Google search results for a set period of time. The required window to allow for this capability ended on Wednesday, but Google announced that it will continue to let websites opt out of appearing.
Continue to opt out of appearing in Google Search results
When the company agreed to begin letting domains out of appearing in Google Search results, it agreed amend the Terms and Conditions for its AdWords AP by removing certain clauses. Google also agreed to allow domains to opt out of showing crawled content from their websites on certain google.com-linked webpages in the U.S. The affected clauses made it hard for advertisers to run campaigns across multiple platforms. They also prevented websites from opting out of appearing in Google Search results.
The company said on its blog this week that it believes the policies it agreed to with the FTC “provide continued flexibility for developers and websites.” As a result, the AdWords API practices that were put in place under that agreement will continue.
Controversy around Google Search likely to continue
Even though the company said it would continue letting websites opt out of appearing in Google Search results, domains that do want to keep their pages from being crawled will probably need to watch everything the search giant is doing. The search giant has gotten into hot water more than once for its practices.
For example, Yelp told FTC regulators in September that Google continued to use its images for listings for local businesses in search results, even though it had told Google to stop scraping the images. Yelp management described it as a “flagrant violation of Google’s promises to the FTC” and requested that regulators reopen the case. Tensions between Yelp and Google have stretched back years, as the company filed another complaint in Europe in 2014.
Google was also fined by the European Commission earlier this year for anticompetitive practices after regulators ruled that the company was abusing its dominance within the search market by promoting its own products and demoting those from its competitors. Analysts have been debating whether the company will be slapped with additional fines in the European Union.