My friend Jay Moonah wrote a manifesto for called Trusting Google and Yahoo. It’s a call for critical thinking when using search engines. Since search results “seem to appear like magic, many of us tend to think of search results as being unbiased”.

Jay reminds us that people are manipulating and optimizing their web pages for the sole purpose of making their sites appear as the first search result. Remember, there’s a whole industry out there for search engine optimization (SEO). And there’s a lot of snake oil.

Trusting Google and Yahoo is a manifesto for keeping all this in mind when we look at the results we receive. Are the first few branding or informational? Which results are there simply for tricking us into clicking to give them more ad dollars? Are we missing the relevant, useful results that are pushed down because of Google bombing or unexpected consequences of SEO?

Jay reminds us that search engines— well, all websites really— are not magic. There’s always someone or something behind the content. The content is there for a reason. Not necessarily for the good of humankind.