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Danillo Leite - Marketing Strategy Expert

Category: GOOGLE

Google Explains Negative Reviews And Rankings

Google Explains Negative Reviews And Rankings:  Google’s Mueller said that a large amount of negative reviews is something the algorithms might try to pick up on.

Google Explains Negative Reviews And Rankings

Google’s John Mueller answered whether negative reviews harm a website’s search rankings. The answer provided useful information about how Google’s algorithms take reviews into account and the general threshold at which a negative effect begins.

This is the question that was asked:

“So, about negative reviews not hurting, so if you have a “bad” reputation online and you see a lot of negative stuff about your company.

  • …Would that hurt, potentially, your Google ranking for keywords?
  • …Could Google look at that and say, Oh this is a bad company, we’re not going to rank it as well because they have a lot of negative reviews.
  • You said I don’t think that would hurt overall rankings for a website if there’s a bad reputation around the site.”
What I Know? About Google May 2020 Update

Google Explains Negative Reviews And Rankings

Background Information on Negative Reviews and Rankings

The person asking the question also referenced a 2010 incident reported in the NYTimes where an online merchant was seemingly ranked highly because of a large amount of links pointing to their site from angry customers.

The 2010 article resulted in a response from Google (Being Bad to Your Customers is Bad for Business) that announced the introduction of sentiment analysis to “turn negative comments into negative votes.”

“turn negative comments into negative votes.”

It was that 2010 Google blog post that is responsible for the understanding that negative reviews can harm rankings. Google’s 2010 announcement plainly said that negative comments would become negative votes.

Mueller Explains How Negative Reviews and Rankings Work

Google’s John Mueller answered the question in a straightforward manner. He affirmed that if online signals were predominantly negative then that could have an effect.

He also noted that negative reviews are common and that shouldn’t have an effect, apparently since that’s a normal thing.

This is what Mueller said:

“…That’s something where if all of the signals point in that direction, I could imagine that we might pick that up.

But if you’re talking about… there are a handful of people that are upset and they’re writing these random things online, and there are lots of people that are happy with your site, and everything is normal, then that’s not something where I would really worry about.”

“…That’s something where if all of the signals point in that direction, I could imagine that we might pick that up.

But if you’re talking about… there are a handful of people that are upset and they’re writing these random things online, and there are lots of people that are happy with your site, and everything is normal, then that’s not something where I would really worry about.”

I think what John might be saying between the lines there is that random negative reviews shouldn’t be seen as negative ranking factors.

The reason implied in his answer is that it’s normal to have some negative reviews.

What isn’t normal is to have predominantly negative signals.

Mueller continued:

“I think those situations where it’s like there are a lot of people that are really upset about your site, those are probably pretty rare. Not something that most normal sites would run into. “

“I think those situations where it’s like there are a lot of people that are really upset about your site, those are probably pretty rare. Not something that most normal sites would run into. “

Is 2010 Sentiment Analysis Algorithm Still Used by Google?

Mueller was then asked if the 2010 Sentiment Analysis algorithm was still used by Google.

Mueller’s answer implied that algorithms from ten years ago might not exist in similar forms since technologies constantly change.

As an example, consider the difference in your phone from ten years ago and what you carry around today.

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PageRank for SEO

PageRank for SEO:  When Google was launched back in 1998, they introduced a mechanism for ranking web pages that was radically different from how the established search engines at the time worked.

PageRank for SEO

Up to then, most search engines relied exclusively on content and meta data to determine if a webpage was relevant for a given search. Such an approach was easily manipulated, and it resulted in pretty poor search results where the top ranked pages tended to have a lot of keywords stuffed in to the content.

Google radically shook things up by introducing PageRank as a key ranking factor.

Content still mattered to Google, of course, but rather than just look at which webpage had the keyword included most often, Google looked at how webpages linked to one another to determine which page should rank first.

Google’s theory was that a link from one webpage to another counted as a ‘vote’, a recommendation from that webpage for the page that was linked to. And the more ‘votes’ a webpage had – the more links that pointed to it – the more Google felt it could trust that page to be sufficiently good and authoritative. Therefore, pages with the most links deserved to rank the highest in Google’s results.

It’s interesting to note that the PageRank concept was heavily inspired by similar technology developed two years earlier by Robin Li, who later went on to co-found the Baidu search engine. (Thanks to Andreas Ramos for pointing that out to me!)

More than two decades later Google still relies heavily on PageRank to determine rankings. For a long time, Google allowed us to see an approximation of a webpage’s PageRank through their browser toolbar, which included a PageRank counter that showed the current webpage’s PageRank as a integer between 0 and 10.

The Basic Concept of PageRank

At its core, the concept of PageRank is fairly simple: page A has a certain amount of link value (PageRank) by virtue of links pointing to it. When page A then links to page B, page B gets a dose of the link value that page A has.

Of course, page B doesn’t get the same PageRank as page A already has. While page A has inbound links that give it a certain amount of PageRank, in my example page B only gets PageRank through one link from page A. So page B cannot be seen as equally valuable as page A. Therefore, the PageRank that page B gets from page A needs to be less than 100% of page A’s PageRank.

This is called the PageRank Damping Factor.

In the original paper that Google published to describe PageRank, they set this damping factor to 0.85. That means the PageRank of page A is multiplied by 0.85 to give the PageRank of page B. Thus, page B gets 85% of the PageRank of page A, and 15% of the PageRank is dissolved.

PageRank for SEO

PageRank for SEO

If page B were then to have a link to page C, the damping factor would apply again. The PageRank of page B (85% of page A’s PageRank) is multiplied by 0.85, and so page C gets 72.25% of page A’s original PageRank.

PageRank Damping Factor from webpage A to B to C

And so on, and so forth, as pages link to one another and PageRank distributes through the entire web. That’s the basic idea behind PageRank: pages link to one another, link value flows through these links and loses a bit of potency with every link, so webpages get different amounts of PageRank from every link that points to them.

Pages that have no links at all get a basic starting amount of PageRank of 0.15, as extrapolated from the original PageRank calculation, so that there’s a jump off point for the analysis and we don’t begin with zero (because that would lead to every webpage having zero PageRank).

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Google Is Working On Something Related To Nofollow Link Change

Google Is Working On Something Related To Nofollow Link Change: Now We know that Google made a change to the nofollow link policy, that starting on March 1, 2020, Google can look at a nofollow link attribute as a hint and not as a directive.

Google Is Working On Something Related To Nofollow Link Change

Just to be clear, Google said in September they can use it as a hint for ranking and in March as a hint for crawling and indexing. But since then, it seems Google did not make any real change to search since the change – but a change is indeed coming.

I asked Gary Illyes of Google

I asked Gary Illyes of Google for an update on this nofollow hint policy change. I asked him “has Google done anything with this in terms of ranking, spam, etc?” Gary responded saying “you will have something. At one point. Some time in the future. No timeframe.”

He doesn’t believe anything was launched yet but what he is working on will indeed need to be announced. So it sounds big, big enough that it has to be announced by Google.

“has Google done anything with this in terms of ranking, spam, etc?”

What I Know? About Google May 2020 Update

What I Know? About Google May 2020 Update: Many industries rocked by Google May 2020 Update – What I know right now

What I Know? About Google May 2020 Update

SEO, last google Update: Search results continue to churn three days after Google announced the May 4 2020 update. Google warned it may take a couple weeks to settle. This is why that might not be good.

Most updates settle fairly quickly with minor changes along the way. This update is different.

It’s becoming increasingly evident that this update is big.

A partial list of what areas are affected:

  • Local Search Businesses
  • Health Related Sites
  • Rolling out Worldwide
  • Multiple Languages Simultaneously
  • The changes are felt by many and the results seemingly change hour to hour and day to day.

I haven’t witnessed an update as widespread as this one since 2003.

Why Updates Cause Ranking Volatility

One of the reasons the search results become volatile is because it may take some time to roll out the changes to all the data centers globally. When your browser hits a data center it could be receiving old data or the new data.

Another reason to explain the constant changes is because there are multiple factors that are changing.

What commonly happens is that an update rolls out followed by a period of relative calm that is then interrupted by more changes that sometimes reverses the losses.

As I understand it this known as reversing false positives. False positives are when relevant sites are unintentionally affected by an update. After an update the Google engineers will measure the feedback, review the search results and tweak it to smooth out the false positives.

First Impressions

Numerous people I spoke with described this update using words like “carnage” and mentioned how inconvenient it was to do this to businesses at such a dire moment in time.

Search marketer Tony Wright (@tonynwright) offered this impression:

“This appears to be one of the most significant updates in recent memory. It’s too early for anything other than analysis, but I’ve seen sites in multiple verticals affected.

It’s not clear who the winners are yet…”

Several people shared that while it is yet early, they are seeing changes across many industries, notably in the health related topics.

Who is Affected By the Google Update?

  • Local Search Fluctuations
  • There are many reports that mention fluctuations in local type search results.

One person tweeted a graphic that shows local search has been in flux since late April 2020

Covid-19 Effect on Search Algorithm?

Some are theorizing that sounds reasonable is that Covid-19 may have affected some parts of Google’s algorithm that determines what it is that people want to see when they make a search query.

Without question the pandemic affected search patterns.

Is it possible that Google added a change that makes Google’s algorithm more sensitive to these changes? We really don’t know.

Another factor I’ve seen is that some are reporting that sites with actual brands that have been around have gained, while less branded sites have lost.

Worldwide Update Rollout

Google’s update appears to be affecting SERPs worldwide. Reports on WebmasterWorld indicate volatility from the United States to Europe to Australia simultaneously. Tow and Towing Boston,

Japanese search engine marketing expert Kenichi Suzuki (@suzukik) told me that the update is being keenly felt in Japan.

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