This weekend a story came out in the New York Times about a specific retailer (I won’t mention the company’s name) and their atrocious, and even abusive, customer service.  It turns out that this was part of his SEO strategy. Bad reviews = mentions of and links to his site = increased rankings. And on top of this, a and mentions are solid gold.

This strategy put a magnifying glass over a problem with Google’s algorithm: Sentiment. Sure, he has thousands of links to his site. Google views these as “votes” for the site and lifts it’s rankings. But the reality is that these are negative links, and should do the opposite of what they really do.

So how does Google respond?  With a brainstorming session, finding a solution, testing it and implementing it.  All within 72 hours of this manipulation coming to light.  From a giant as big as Google, they are as nimble as an elephant.  There is a change in the algorithm that addresses sentiment.  If the general concensus is that your site sucks, then Google will respond accordingly.

Beyond the nimbleness of this change, at the very core, Google stays true to their mantra. They want to deliver the best, most relevant results possible. A very public hole in the equation proved to be the perfect catalyst to improve the experience for everyone.

So, does your business suck? Below are some inbound link tools you can use to see who is linking to you and what they are saying:


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