• http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    “but Google’s subsequent penalization action verified it was”

    BZZT! Terrible article that gets its facts wrong from the start.

    Danny Sullivan, Byrne Hobart, Google, and other people (including me) have already pointed out that his tactic DID NOT WORK. How could you possibly miss all those memos and write this atrocious article?

    The last thing we need is for someone to use Search Engine Land to perpetuate the latest SEO myth.

  • http://silvery.com Chris Silver Smith

    Hi, Michael –

    Perhaps you skimmed my article above? I don’t believe I got any facts wrong, but I can see that you might’ve read the first paragraph and skimmed or skipped the rest and come to this conclusion..

    First, in Google’s blog post on the matter, they stated it was an “edge case”, indicating that there was apparently something to Vitaly’s claim. They further said they “…couldn’t be sure no one would find a hole in their ranking algorithms in the future…”, further indicating that he had. Not to mention, they apparently felt it worthwhile to acknowledge the story and act upon it in the first place.

    As I outlined above, it seemed clear that negative ratings/reviews didn’t impair the site from ranking, so what was the explanation? Naturally Vitaly could have fallen into a logical trap that many fall into — namely attributing coincidental facts as causation. However, Danny Sullivan, Byrne Hobart and I all suggested that links might have provided Decor My Eyes with ranking value in some way.

    Danny and others also have said that they’d found his site ranking on some longtail terms, and no longer see him getting the same rank, following Google’s action.

    Further, if you read above I took some care to point out that Citations found in the articles about him might have also helped him to some degree. While Citations are a concept that are familiar primarily to SEOs specialized in Local Search, some of us have posited that they could potentially be applied to general web search results as well — a theory which could explain precisely what sort of influence that the reviews that do not include followed links — or reviews with no links at all — might have provided to Decor My Eyes. Check out:


  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    They didn’t just say it was an “edge case” — they said the links were NOT passing value. “First off, the terrible merchant in the story wasn’t really ranking because of links from customer complaint websites.” So why did you say they verified Borker’s claim that the links were helping him when, in fact, they completely shot the claim down?

    I can’t speak for Google, but I don’t see where they imply that “edge case” has anything to do with link value.

    Further on, you wrote: “Sentiment and rating value didn’t help with rankings, while some combination of links and perhaps citations did (citations are instances where your business and its contact information may be mentioned).”

    Actually, I think Byrne made it pretty clear that spam links were the engine that powered Borker’s rise to the top of the SERPs.

    Perhaps if you omit all references to Borker’s ridiculous SEO delusions and just focus on the meat of your advice — what NOT to do with ratings — that might make the article more presentable.

    Unfortunately, I lobbed a verbal jab at you because I keep coming across people doing exactly what you did — giving credence to Borker’s unparalleled B.S. hypothesis. This SEO myth is going to hang around in blogs and forums for a long time to come, I fear, despite the fact that Danny keeps dismissing it, as he did again today.

  • http://silvery.com Chris Silver Smith

    There are multiple reasons to consider that Google has not provided the complete detail in this matter. In the same paragraph you cite where Google states the merchant didn’t get link value from customer complaint sites, they speak of how links from some of those forums do not pass link value because they are nofollowed. What some of us are aware of, however, is that Google representatives have stated a number of times that they may still choose to use a site’s links for PageRank assessment — indeed, some SEOs have suggested that a number of authoritative sites such as Wikipedia might still be passing PageRank, despite propaganda about the nofollow protocol.

    Indeed, heretofore, the search engines might have considered links from consumer complaint sites as less prone to being a desirable target of link spammers, and the subsequent action Google actually took behind the scenes could’ve easily been to merely begin honoring the nofollows.

    If you read again above, you’ll see that I didn’t state what type of links were providing Decor My Eyes with value — indeed I knew what Google and others had said, theorizing that it was actually other links which gave his site any dribble of lift.

    Byrne’s theory is that it’s due to spam links — which, if you’re taking Google’s word for everything, you’d need to consider that Google has been increasingly adept at discounting PageRank from passing through paid links on sites of low value, and there’s little way for SEOs to know precisely whether a link is passing value or not. Byrne also did not at all consider the possibility in that article that non-link citations could’ve provided value as well.

    I’ll point out: Google gave Borker attention and some level of credibility by reacting to it and talking about it. Where there’s smoke, there’s often fire. Googlers themselves have spoken of how controversy and negative attention can result in some sorts of promotion value with online rankings, and it’s clear that Borker derived some level of promotional value from his evil antics, regardless of what mechanism specifically was at play in the background.

  • http://www.blogpestcontrol.com Thomas Ballantyne

    What about the advantages of providing good service period? What marketers need understand that providing good service is the first step in getting reviews. Let’s not work this backwards and start going for online reviews as a reaction to a bad review caused by poor service. Kill the poor service, provide good service, then be proactive in getting reviews. What’s really amazing is that if you already provide a good service and you are proactive with your customers to get reviews, the perception of your good service in the eyes of that customer just went up. The math may seem a little funny but if quality were an equation…

    Increase of quality by 1 + Increase of customer awareness of quality by 1 = Increase of quality perception by 5

    Or let’s drop the increase of quality…

    Same good quality score + increase of customer awareness of quality by 1 = Increase of quality perception by 2

    Why the increase of quality perception? Because your customers are the greatest marketing tool you will ever have. What they tell others about your service weighs more than any other marketing push will.

  • http://silvery.com Chris Silver Smith

    Very good points, Thomas.

  • http://www.addurbusiness.com/ maheshkumar

    Very awesome ! But buddy from last 1 month i’m in search the tips to get better performance in local listing. But yet i can’t get proper solution. Can you help me?
    If it possible please suggest me some tips.

  • techron

    Customer feedback is the life blood any business, it can make you or break a business. Obviously, not every customer will leave your business a positive glowing review every time, no matter how hard you try to please him or her. Nevertheless, you should never stop trying and do the best that you can, that’s customer service.
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