Social media and review sites are a hotbed of comment on just about anything you can think of, including reviews of businesses.
It is a generally accepted truth that customers who are happy with a business are less likely to say anything that one who is dissatisfied. Of course, when this dissatisfaction is shared online, the results can go’viral’ very quickly.
So can bad reviews online hurt a businesses Google ranking? Some believe the answer is ‘yes’. And comments by Matt Cutts of Google at the 2013 SXSW conference in Austin lead in this direction. Apparently Google wants to protect shoppers from merchants who don’t give good service. “We have a potential launch later this year, said Matt Cutts, maybe a little bit sooner, looking at the quality of merchants and whether we can do a better job on that, because we don’t want low quality experience merchants to be ranking in the search results.” Read more on the topic here: Search Engine Land – Bad Merchant
The tricky part will be how Google goes about qualifying reviews. Sadly some good merchants stand to be hurt for unfair or deliberately misleading reviews. This is important since ranking in Google search can have a dramatic impact on how many new customers find a business online and end up shopping there. Let’s hope Google gets it right.