If Users Don’t Like Your Site, Your Google Ranking Goes South!

If Users Don’t Like Your Site, Your Google Ranking Goes South!

By Ralf Skirr.

Google announced that the algorithm changes from the so-called ‘Farmer Update’ are being rolled out internationally. But that’s not all.

They’ve added a new feature to their ranking algorithm, and it basically says:

If users let Google know they don’t like your site, your ranking will suffer.

Google’s Amit Singhal explained it this way:

“… we’ve also incorporated new user feedback signals to help people find better search results. In some high-confidence situations, we are beginning to incorporate data about the sites that users block into our algorithms.”

I don’t know what ‘some high-confidence situations’ are, but at this point it probably means it’s a minor change that will not have too much effect on the overall search results. But, I’m predicting that …

We are going to see a huge shift in how Google rankings are measured.

5 years from now we will have rankings that are LARGELY based on user votes.

A long time smart people have been claiming that it is vital to build high quality sites, because Google wants high quality. But actually that is NOT EXACTLY what Google wants.

It’s clearly Google’s goal to give users what they are looking for, what they like most. Pardon me, that’s not necessarily the same as high quality.

Anyway, Google will work hard to find ways to do this.

  • In the past Google counted webmaster votes, using backlinks as a measure for site ranking.
  • In the future Google will be counting user votes, be it blocking sites, or referencing them socially in Facebook, Twitter and the like.

=> In the long run the internet users will determine which sites are ranking high, and which sites go down.

It’s harder to figure out for Google, but it’s definitely coming at you!

SEOmoz has researched how URL mentions on Twitter and Facebook seem to influence a site’s ranking already:


What do you think? Tell me in your comments;

  1. Will my prediction come true?
  2. Will site owners who play the social game well (despite having crappy sites) win over those who build excellent sites?
  3. Or will great content finally be king?

Category: SEO-Tips | Tags: ,


Leave a comment
  1. Silje April 13, 2011 at 4:56 am #

    The question we should ask ourselves is: How can we prove that people like our site?

    Google are fast to track facebook updates and are probably counting likes. They will probably also count different social bookmarking votes and their own +1.

    Will those who build the strongest following on facebook and social bookmarking sites be the new go-to-guys for Google? Is it time to start invest more into building relationships and followings on these sites?

  2. Ann April 13, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    I’m quite torn about this. I think getting a good page rank is important, but I also think that Google’s ranking isn’t the best. I’ve seen various sites with low page rank that provide great information, and I’ve also seen some high ranking sites that are not that good.

    I’m not really sure how specific or complicated Google’s algorithm is, but I think this change may bring some good. I’m not saying it’s perfect; we all got different preferences after all. However, I think this will help in giving better ranking to sites that actually deserve it.

    Nevertheless, I believe, in the end, what matters is not how well someone plays the social game but how valuable the information he provides is.

  3. Matt May 9, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    This is really very interesting. It also makes total sense – Google will base it’s results on what users wants HOWEVER, I don’t think it will effect all search queries – in fact I think most industries won’t be affected.

    Also – what is to stop this being spammed as well. I was see it on Fiverr now – “I will get 100 +1 votes for your site on Google for $5″…

    • Ralf May 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

      Yes Matt, you’ve actually found the first attempts to game the new system.

      Google has published more about their quality guidelines recently, and they are getting hate comments on their blog from angry webmasters.

      There are some interesting opinions in the comment thread. Summary being: Google’s quality criteria aren’t as useful as they seem to be at first glance, and they aren’t easy to turn into algorithms.


  4. dean jackson May 10, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    Matt, those types of services are available already… I have to admit, I did buy a few thousand likes on one of my sites to make it appear “popular” to other users. “Social proof”, as Cialdini, the master of influence puts it.

    Did it work?

    I can’t say for sure, because I don’t know how to track it. But it couldn’t hurt either :)

    We’ll see what happens…


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