coachm - 8:25 pm on Jun 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
Let me see if I can clarify. I own superyelp, the largest restaurant review site, with 70% of the market. Most users don't know there are other review sites.
In a drunken stupor one of our professional reviews, lists the Macdonalds as offering gourmet food and a romantic atmosphere.
Now, as a result 100 people (who don't know what a McDonald's is) head over. Some of them will be disappointed just at seeing the place, and leave. (bad user metrics) Others order, taste the food, and leave after a minute or two....
So, Superyelp says: We want to improve our site, so let's look at the usermetrics. But they don't know whether the poor metrics are a result of a drunken fellah, or that the McDonald's really sucks. If they misread, they have problems.
But more...let's say they look at the metrics, and assume that it's the fault of the McDonalds, and downgrade its rating so it appears rarely. The don't just penalize for the terms but overall. So, although the fault is with the drunken reviewer (it's own system), they effectively remove "in its entirety" visibility for the McDonalds.
If they downgraded the resto just for the terms gourmet or romantic, that makes sense (almost like downgrading a single page), but if they globally reduce visibility for any search terms (a la downgrade an entire web domain), then they will end up with worse serps over all.