Help Penalize Your Favorite Retailer

Jan 14, 2009 • 8:01 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search & Web SEO Spam

I figured I take a different look at Matt's Give Google feedback on "noresults" pages. In short, Matt Cutts of Google wants you to submit feedback to Google on search results that lead to reviews, but those reviews don't actually have a review. For example, Matt McGee points out one example of this at Search Engine Land. A search for sd880is reviews returns a result that shows this:

no results page

That is what Matt said most people want Google to tackle in 2009 in terms of search spam. Personally, I dislike going to a page that should have reviews on a product and not find any reviews. So I do hope Google does clean up those results.

This is also perfect if you have a competitor in the retail business and they have a reviews section that contains products with no reviews. This might be able to help you. Or maybe not...

This whole topic touches on the very controversial topic of wether or not SEOs should report other SEOs or competitors to Google or other search engines. When we polled our audience in May 2008, we learned that Most SEOs Don't Report Competitors To Google. About 70% said they do not report competitors to Google. Why? Many reasons including pride, morals, community, low blow, the "us vs them" attitude, feeling your not good enough to beat your competitor, and so on.

Is this the same thing as reporting spam on your competitors? I am not sure. If you don't do SEO and your an active searcher who hates empty reviews, then help Google, help you. If not, then you need to make a decision.

Forum discussion at Sphinn.

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Jaan Kanellis

01/14/2009 03:36 pm

I guess I am missing the concept here. Are we saying if your a review website only and do not have reviews for a product then you pages should not rank? What about the growing number of normal product pages that now offer reviews similar to Amazon. if they don't have reviews on them should they not rank? hardly.

Michael Martinez

01/14/2009 06:49 pm

It's amazingly naive of people to assume that someone else should always be reviewing products for them. Those reviews have to come from somewhere and just the fact that a product page doesn't have any reviews doesn't make it spam. This was overall a really stupid request on the part of people who asked for it. Review spam sites look a lot like real retail sites that have just launched. The fact there are few or no reviews doesn't mean the site is spam. A lot of SEOs may regret being so short-sighted and stupid on this topic when their clients with new retail sites complain about not being indexed in Google. The typical SEO response should be, "Oh, I'm sorry! I was one of the morons who asked Google to ban your type of site."


01/14/2009 09:17 pm

Tweaking the Google algorithm for every little thing you think adds or detracts quality from a page is both futile and inefficient. The fact is, the page without any reviews will not garner real incoming links, and will not rise to the top in the long run, the page with a lot of reviews will rise to the top. So, with things as they are now, given enough time for human behavior to manifest, the search results will rank in order of usefulness. And for all you know, the person searching is searching for a place to post a review, rather than read one, maybe they have the product and want to tell the world how awesome/crappy it is.

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