Google may use merchants reviews as ranking signals

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After the article in the New York Times where a merchant explained how by using bad reviews on the web, it can be good for business, Google has taken immediate action and implemented corrective measure.

The merchant explained that even bad user complaints and negative reviews can be translated into more links which, in turn, make the merchant site more prominent in search engines.

After the newspaper reported the incident, Google convened a team that looked carefully at the issue. That team developed an initial algorithmic solution, implemented it, and the solution is already live.

According to one of the Google spoksperson, “I am here to tell you that being bad is, and hopefully will always be, bad for business in Google’s search results”.

Google considered many option for correcting the issue. Idea was considered to block the particular offender.  However that approach might solve the immediate problem for that specific business, but it wouldn’t solve the issue in large as Google prefers to solve issues algorthimically.

Another approach was considered known as sentiment analysis to identify negative remarks and turn negative comments into negative votes. Though this proposal initially sounds promising, it turns out to be based on a misconception and decided not to be used.

The idea which is still under consideration and likely to be one of the main factor in the future is the user reviews and ratings for various merchants
alongside their results. Although this would not demote poor quality merchants in Google results but can surely create awareness among the users.

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