I recently discovered that FDA Warnings have been unwittingly adding value to the very websites and products they are trying to warn about. What does this mean in the context of Google’s new negative review algorithm?
Google has been working on de-valuing bad reviews…
There has been lots of press over the NY Times article exposing an ability to get ranked through negative press online. Google has since updated their search algorithm to take into account the reputation of the company being reviewed. Now, in theory, Google will no longer add value reviews if the reviews are extremely negative:
…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.
Official Google Blog
The key here is that Google’s focus is on user experience; they want to provide the best search results so that users are satisfied with Google’s search result ranking system.
…but are FDA warnings considered bad reviews?
The FDA Warning Letters website posts warnings about companies and their practices. In 2010, they issued more than 560 warnings (an average of 1.5 warnings/day). Many of these warnings have (folllowed) links to the companies and specific products. Lots of the products on the warning list are scammy pharmaceutical products…and the FDA is giving them links.
Does the government understand links & SEO?
Whomever is updating the FDA website likely doesn’t understand: the way the FDA links to companies in these warnings is helping to promote the ‘warned’ products. The FDA should learn about nofollow and take steps to `nofollow` all links.
Do you feel Google should de-value FDA warning links?