The story of a business owner claiming to utilize bad reviews as link juice for his website, covered by the New York Times, may have given Google a little push to begin rolling out Large-Scale Sentient Analysis for News and Blogs.
As an SEO, I was shocked and appalled. I had assumed that Google was currently employing some sort of ‘Sentient Analysis’ to keep stuff like this from occurring.
Jtree has always operated as a White Hat SEO company. We actually turn-away businesses on a regular basis that wish to employ our SEO tactics in questionable fashions. It is inconceivable to us that Google was not only showing results for websites operated in such a way, but displaying them at the top of search results at that – a complete disruption of relevancy.
Let’s hope Google really does have a handle on ‘Sentient Analysis’ and stories of this nature become a thing of the past.
Let’s also hope that SEO companies do not engage with businesses that wish to subvert website and blog review and ranking measures.
So, if you are not already concerned with negative reviews about your company (shame shame), now is the time. Especially if you’ve got good search engine rankings to protect.
I recently presented about Reputation Safeguarding, and my slideshow contains a list of all the tools you need to begin monitoring your company’s reputation.
Posted by Josh Laughtland, Founder and Consultant for Boise-based SEO and Internet Marketing Company Jtree.net
Update: Matt Cutts of Google announced that the website operator mentioned above wasn’t actually able to ‘game’ Google by receiving link juice from bad reviews – it was because of the media coverage itself. All of those backlinks put out by mainstream media is apparently why the ill-fated business was able to dominate Google search engine results.