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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Google's Solution to Businesses "Being Bad" to Get More Backlinks

Most people would never think of conduct bad business to produce poor online reviews and chatter to engender more backlinks. I never have, but I guess if you weren't apprehensive about sacrifice your personal integrity as well as your business', the plan might have been effective. Until now...


It is the natural propensity of most people to take the time to place a formal grievance about a business when they have been ill-treated. Sure, they might in words express their happiness with a business' exceptional service, but they usually don't go the extra mile and publish these thoughts.

A New York Times story recitation a woman who was terribly ill-treated by a company that sells discount designer sunglasses, sheds light on businesses that use negative online publicity to pick up their organic search engine rankings. This company without fail treated customers so poorly that the police even became involved, but the negative online chatter immediate the company skyrocket their site to the first page on Google.

After reading the story, Google straight away gathered a team to address this type of link building strategy. They brainstorm a multitude of possible solutions including:

  • Blocking offender 
  • Using sentiment analysis to turn unenthusiastic comments about a company into negative "votes" 
  • Improving the emotion analysis system to account for the negative comments 
  • Listing negative comments for merchants next to their results in Google

However, the first solution would not solve the problem for every offender using this type of strategy; the second solution could not as it should be characteristic negative "votes" from large publication like The New York Times that simply mention the business; the third solution might transfer contentious topics in the results because of apparently negative sentiment; and the fourth solution would not hold back the ability of a company to use this negative strategy to boost their organic search engine ranking.

Google ultimately settled on a solution that changed the algorithm to detect unfortunate merchants in various content types and reflect this negativity in their search engine ranking. Outstanding to the fact that people are trying to maneuver the algorithm in their favor each and every day, Google did not reveal the particulars of the changes. However, with this algorithmic amendment Google makes it clear that being bad to customers is bad for your business both offline and online.

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