Non-branded online businesses and Google's limitations to internationalisation on the internet

Anna Frederikke Bay Rømler

Student thesis: Master thesis


The basic premise of the thesis is that the Google search engine poses a limitation to internationalisation of non-branded online businesses that are dependent on the internet as their main market source. Studies have shown that many non-branded online businesses that are setting up an online presence, find they have a smaller international reach than hoped for via their web page and are faced with little or no demand. The thesis argues that the unwanted effect of limitations is brought about due to Google‘s need to supply the searchers with the results that the searchers perceive to be the most relevant. The issue then becomes one of consumer search behaviour versus internationalisation in a local demand driven context. Because of the difficulties in finding reliable data on the search engine and the ‗algorithm‘ behind it, the thesis takes an inductive approach to unveil the algorithm behind the Google search engine with external popular data being its main source. To supplement the secondary data, an experiment is carried out. The experiment backs up the basic premise of an increased number of local results dependent on a number of proximity factors identified in the algorithm. The thesis proceeds to look at the theoretical reasoning for the search engine to employ the importance of the proximity factors to the search results, and to look at the implications this approach has on internationalisation. A discussion on the subject is followed by practical advice on how to avoid the limitations to internationalisation imposed by the Google algorithm. Based on the factors it is concluded that searching the internet via Google inhibit the reach of one global market but rather acts as a channel to reach many geographical individual markets. The thesis concludes that non-branded online businesses must target each market individually in order to rank well in all of Googles local search engine. The thesis outlines the practical requirements needed to improve rankings within all of the Google search engines. In short; to reach many geographical markets, non-branded online businesses must produce individual web pages in an effort to meet the need for proximity within the Google search engine algorithm.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages173