Two posts (mostly) praising Google in one day? Why you betcha. A minor kerfuffle erupted in the search community over the weekend when a NY Times article ran about a merchant – DecorMyEyes – whose main SEO strategy was to get negative reviews for the link value and how Google rewarded this behavior with high rankings.
In three days, Google addressed the issues with changes to its algorithm and announced their tweaks, which resulted in a decent sized smackdown on DecorMyEyes. The part that they got 100% right? Not singling out the site in question:
Consider the obvious responses we could have tried to fix the problem:
- Block the particular offender. That would be easy and might solve the immediate problem for that specific business, but it wouldn’t solve the larger issue in a general way. Our first reaction in search quality is to look for ways to solve problems algorithmically.
Instead, in the last few days, we developed an algorithmic solution which detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide an extremely poor user experience. The algorithm we incorporated into our search rankings represents an initial solution to this issue, and Google users are now getting a better experience as a result.
There are still many bad results out there. Danny Sullivan pointed out at least one ranking where the site still ranked #1 organically. But Google gets it reasonably right with at least some of their top results far more often than they do not, which is why they’re so popular. Do they need to be vigilant about gaming? Absolutely. And should they be able to do it and act on it without negative press. But sometimes it just takes a crisis to motivate people to act, I guess.