In an interesting release on their webmaster PR blog, Google claims that they will investigate all bad SERP reports from inside their panel tool. Problem results claims made through the public report form are viewed but not necessarily investigated.
Not many people agree with this proposition. One person has reported a site and noticed no changes:
I have been thinking this for quite some time as I have reported a site hidding text etc for months and it has risen in the serps and not dropped.
Seems this a very bad move on Google's part....
This may be very true and it is an incident that has been around for over two years.
Others are confused with regards to what reports this refers to and believe that some of these reports are fraudulent to begin with:
I take it this is about the "Dissatisfied? Help us improve" link at the bottom of the results?
If so, I think that many of the "users" submiting feedback will actually be webmasters trying to get their site listed higher or get a competitor banned.
Cue: "I'm trying to find xyz.com but can't for this popular phrase", "after searching though millions of their pages, I've found two invisble links on pararpaph 5 of page 320: please can you ban them forever", etc.
I know people who send several of these per day, all pretending that they're not webmasters!
The question on WebmasterWorld shifts in the middle of the thread: do Google's human search quality raters review these reports? Is it practical to evaluate the relevance of results manually?
Well I feel google should give importance to both for webmasters and users. Users are its client and webmasters are suppliers.
It has been a constant effort by google to provide relevent result and that is why it is trying to do so many things.
Verifying SERP is a good idea but I was wondering how practical is it to do it manually. I guess they would build a system for this.
Our spam report forms are provided in two different flavors: an authenticated form that requires registration in Webmaster Tools, and an unauthenticated form. Currently, we investigate every spam report from a registered user. Spam reports to the unauthenticated form are assessed in terms of impact, and a large fraction of those are reviewed as well.
Discussion continues at WebmasterWorld.