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.”
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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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