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Censored vs uncensored reviews - negative reviews on-site and Google?

 4:05 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

One of the websites I deal with allows uncensored reviews of its widgets and widget brands. It's one of the features that the customers love and relish, because it allows them to express their true feelings - unlike some competing websites in the niche that do censor reviews.

In light of Google's algo response to the infamous "Bully Finds a Pulpit On the Web" NY Times article [nytimes.com ] is it bad to have negative reviews on-site?

Are there certain stop words that Google uses to identify negativity?

Uncensored reviews are ideal for customers, which in theory should be ideal for Google, but their reaction to the NY Times article sounds like it could possibly be impairing rankings. Rankings are somewhat impaired, but that could be due to other factors.

I'm interested in what the WW community thinks.

Aside: I believe new reviews also adds to the freshness of the page content, another reason I'd like to keep them on-page instead of AJAXing them in after page load.



 8:21 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

If I am remembering correctly the DecorMyEyes situation focused more on Google Shopping results and not on Google Search results. Also simply having negative reviews on your website does not mean Google will include it in its collection of reviews.

I love reviews. This user generated content has provided me with a great amount of fresh content that taps into long tail keywords.

As things are today I would not be concerned about a few negative reviews. I would be more concerned with uncensored reviews containing words that are not family friendly or libelous comments.


 8:40 pm on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

thanks for the reply...when I said "uncensored" I meant we allow negative reviews, meaning the customer didn't like the product. We do somewhat moderate/remove libelous comments, and unrelated gibberish.

Does having profanity on a page/site throw a red flag to Google? We may have let some profanity slide through to bolster are "uncensored" appeal.


 1:56 pm on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Profanity is not so much a ranking issue as it is a safesearch filter issue. I would not worry too much about the rare occurrence of profanity. I would worry if someone posted a full length erotic story or a full page profanity laced tirade.

UGC can be a very powerful help but some people forget to monitor it and then it can be a nightmare.

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