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Google search options

stuarty

Banned
Google launched "search options" yesterday. It's a link just below their logo in search results page that says "show options".

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google unveils 'smarter search'

One of the things that concerns me is the "reviews" option. I have noticed that Google have been placing more emphasis on reviews (local search, base etc) but this looks open to abuse ro me. There will no doubt be a new industry of paid reviews (like paid links). Also there will be bad reviews - these are already happening and this could be a really easy way to discredit a competitor. Has Google shot itself in the foot with this option? Who knows.

Is google taking notice of or feeling threatened by twitter? Think real time search - Google's results have many old historical pages that outrank new pages in the serps. For example a page on a medical treatment may rank number 1 when a newer and possibly life saving page on a similar website will rank 100 purely because it is not as old as the other page (because it's a trusted site over time).

Either way I think it would be VERY wise to keep an eye on developments in twitter because it looks very much like Google can see some kind of writing on the wall that they are desperate to keep ahead of these other phenomenons.

At first glance there appear to be many benefits in the new "options" feature on Google but I'm sure as the days go by there will be just as many black hat avenues or exploits that are discovered.

One thing is for sure - SEOs will need to be on their toes because Google means business.

Very very very interesting times ahead!
 
Employment Law Services

Employment Law Services

EmployEasily Legal Services
Verified Member
One of the things that concerns me is the "reviews" option. I have noticed that Google have been placing more emphasis on reviews (local search, base etc) but this looks open to abuse ro me.

Doesn't the 'reviews' link just display those website that have been 'reviewed' by McAfee and identified as safe - i.e. green tick mark - opposed to viewer reviews and therefore completely safe in terms of abuse??
 
NorthSouthMedia

NorthSouthMedia

New Member
No the Reviews tab will show you what people have written about your site /product or have a close proximity to the word 'review' within the context.

That is assuming there are pages out on the web that have reviewed your site.

Here is an example of what Google returns for NorthSouthMedia from the reviews tab.
 
Employment Law Services

Employment Law Services

EmployEasily Legal Services
Verified Member
No the Reviews tab will show you what people have written about your site /product or have a close proximity to the word 'review' within the context.

That is assuming there are pages out on the web that have reviewed your site.

I get it now, thanks! Very interesting indeed but I still don't see how this is open to abuse? Surely this 'review' tab will only pick up what can already be posted, and is being indexed by Google anyway?

Isn't the 'risk' the fact that by clicking the 'review' tab you can pull all the reviews together as far as search results go, whereas before they may not have featured on the first few pages of results unless the keywords for your site were included or somebody search by site name?
 

stuarty

Banned
I still don't see how this is open to abuse?

It's not the tab it's the concept of reviews influencing how a site ranks that's open to abuse.

Positive abuse - Blackhat SEOs will pay students in Universities to write great reviews for their websites. ie Spamming, gaming. The reviews are also combined with geo-based info which means that a pron or gambling site can appear amongst results.

Negative abuse - How would you feel if bad reviews appeared about your company or products. It's been happening since the start of the year for products in Google base. People have been saying "don't buy this product it's crap" etc. This is just blatant attempts to discredit competitors. Google are doing hee haw about it.

Google bring out some great stuff but they're also guilty of introducing features like this without thinking of the consequences. It's being widely accepted already on the pro boards that Google have done all this because of the threat from twitter and wolfram alpha.
 
Employment Law Services

Employment Law Services

EmployEasily Legal Services
Verified Member
Thanks Stuarty........I see what you mean now. Abuse in the sense the results, or in this case the reviews, can be artificially created and therefore unfairly influence SERPS.

I certainly agree about the 'blackhat' abuse being a real risk and also the negative reviews bit to a lessor extent but at least businesses could sue for libel if the neagative reviews were defamatory (provied they have the money to sue of course)

I wonder how SERPS will be defined going forward? What will constitute a top ten ranking for a particular keyword phrase?
 
NorthSouthMedia

NorthSouthMedia

New Member
For one, posting a negative review isn't blackhat, it may be a competitor or an ex-employee who has posted the review with an axe to grind -- I fail to see the connection between blackhat methods and neg reviews. Most blackhat seo's are not too fussed in trying to bring down their competitors reputation in such a way.

Companies who are serving a product, service or profile online need to understand better how to manage their online reputation. By being pro-active and monitoring your online profile you can easily react upon any negative reviews.

Sometimes, however, the reviews judge the companies behaviour, and is that a'ok to hire an orm (online reputation management) company to clean up a despicable companies actions?

As for Google rushing all this added functionality out in a bid to fight of Twitter or even Wolfram Alpha, er, not 100% sure how this is a bid to combat Twitter's live search or how it compares to Wolfram Alpha's factual information service against Google's Universal search combining news, websites, images, video, blogs and anything else online I haven't mentioned.
 
Employment Law Services

Employment Law Services

EmployEasily Legal Services
Verified Member
For one, posting a negative review isn't blackhat, it may be a competitor or an ex-employee who has posted the review with an axe to grind -- I fail to see the connection between blackhat methods and neg reviews. Most blackhat seo's are not too fussed in trying to bring down their competitors reputation in such a way.
Wasn't Stuarty saying that the 'blackhat' aspect would be them paying people to post positive reviews in an attempt to boost SERPS? Wouldn't that be considered blackhat SEO?

I think your point about managing your online reputation is a good one but equally I think providers of online services such as review sites need to take some responsibility in verifying the authenticity of posted review and make it possible to trace their origins so companies who have been slandered can pursue the authors via a libel suit if the review is defamatory.

I'm interested to see how other search engines react and also how this will impact SEO.........is this perhaps the beginning of the end for traditional SEO??
 
NorthSouthMedia

NorthSouthMedia

New Member
Wasn't Stuarty saying that the 'blackhat' aspect would be them paying people to post positive reviews in an attempt to boost SERPS? Wouldn't that be considered blackhat SEO?

I think your point about managing your online reputation is a good one but equally I think providers of online services such as review sites need to take some responsibility in verifying the authenticity of posted review and make it possible to trace their origins so companies who have been slandered can pursue the authors via a libel suit if the review is defamatory.

I'm interested to see how other search engines react and also how this will impact SEO.........is this perhaps the beginning of the end for traditional SEO??

Look it is only visible if the searcher clicks on the 'Show Options tab and then selects Reviews'

Will neg reviews stop a site from ranking - no!
Should companies be monitoring their online reputation - yes!

It's not blackhat - because blackhat is trying to manipulate the search engines to gain better rankings.

This is trying to besmirch a companies reputation by paying someone to write bad reviews and your right Intrepid it is a legal matter and should be pursued if possible.
 

stuarty

Banned
1.Look it is only visible if the searcher clicks on the 'Show Options tab and then selects Reviews'

2. Will neg reviews stop a site from ranking - no!

3. It's not blackhat - because blackhat is trying to manipulate the search engines to gain better rankings.

1. Images, local maps, news, video were only options before the start of 2009. These are all blended into organic results now.

Matt Cutts told us to watch out for these options (video,blogs,maps etc) appearing in results pages from the start of 2009 and they do.

Reviews appear as options just now but it is widely believed that these too will appear in organic results at some point this year.

2. Where did I say negative reviews stop a site from ranking?

3. So...paying for reviews to rank number 1 in a local maps 10 pack is not manipulation? It's been proven that reviews (citations) do increase rankings in both Google Maps and Google base.

Example - Google "hotel new york". The 10 pack appears at the top of the organic results doesn't it. If the number 1 hotel used paid reviews to get their ranking for this then that is without doubt manipulation.

Google says "paid links" are black hat and a violation of their terms so I don't know what makes paid reviews any different.
 
NorthSouthMedia

NorthSouthMedia

New Member
2. Where did I say negative reviews stop a site from ranking?

As far as I'm aware you never, my reply was aimed at Interpid, anyway, who said manipulating neg reviews was blackhat!

I was merely pointing out that blackhat was the form of bettering a sites rankings within Google's serps by using underhand tactics. A neg review will not impact on a sites rankings within the serps. Hence it is not a blackhat issue more an online rep issue.
 
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