Negative SEO

You’re having a rough day. It’s raining, you missed the train, your coffee shop was out of your favorite coffee and your croissant was under-baked, boss yelled at you and coworker called in sick… you get the picture and it’s only 9:30! As your day progresses your mood steadily worsens. Not one to keep your emotions to yourself on a whim you post a slightly negative review on the coffee shops’ website (just to vent a little…) What ramifications does your comment have on the coffee shop’s SEO ?

Good old Google is getting smarter with age and the search engine methods for determining user reviews is getting more sophisticated. It’s not enough for a search engine to know just the literal meanings of words; so many words have multiple meaning and depending on their contexts can be positive or negative. When discussing a compact sleeping tent that folds up small, you are writing a great review, however a post about a ritzy restaurant that’s portions were too small to be satisfying, is most definitely quite negative. Additionally there are many people who walk around with major chips on their shoulders about anything and everything is it fair that their negative attitude towards life should be negatively impacting hard-working businesses?

The study of stylometry can greatly improve the Google analysis by determining based on the words whether the person is telling the truth or even whether he is of sound mind. If unfortunately a depressed individual is writing then no credence will be given to his review.

Obviously as with most Google algorithms we are in the dark about how much Google uses this system to determine ranking. Even if in general Google isn’t using this method often, we do know that at least for local search they are. A positive citation on a localized business can greatly improve its ranking in search results for its specialty even if its a couple of miles out of search range.

We know that there are two ways to improve your business, work hard or step on your competition. As upright citizens we usually opt for the former. So any uncomplimentary comments you have, save it for your personal notebook, don’t take the chance and ruin someone else’s opportunities because you weren’t satisfied.