By: Charles S. Mombo
Search Engine Optimization consultant

Reacting to a November 28, 2010, New York Times (NYTimes) article titled, “A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web,” Google's Fellow, Amit Singhal wrote a blog post titled "Being bad to your customers is bad for business”.

According to the NYTimes article, an online eyeglass vendor, DecorMyEyes, increased their website's rankings in Google search by being deliberately rude and disrespectful to their customers. The innumerable complaints from DecorMyEyes' customers led to the writing of several articles about DecorMyEyes, which eventually were converted to Internet traffic and improved rankings.

Based on Google's loophole of inadvertently rewarding websites for rude behavior, they came up with a tweak to their algorithms to prevent rewarding bad behavior.

According to Singhal, “We can't say for sure that no one will ever find a loophole in our ranking algorithms in the future. We know that people will keep trying: attempts to game Google’s ranking, like the ones mentioned in the article, go on 24 hours a day, every single day. That’s why we cannot reveal the details of our solution—the underlying signals, data sources, and how we combined them to improve our rankings—beyond what we’ve already said. We can say with reasonable confidence that being bad to customers is bad for business on Google. And we will continue to work hard towards a better search.”

"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," Singhal said. "The solution is already live."

"I am here to tell you that being bad is, and hopefully will always be, bad for business in Google's search results," Singhal added.

As recent as February 24, 2011, Singhal and Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer wrote a blog post titled “Finding more high-quality sites in search”. In their post, they added, “…in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on,” “This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

So, exactly what was the big algorithmic improvement to Google's ranking? Don't hold your breath, because Google has declined to provide details of changes to its algorithms so as not to provide information to search engine optimization consultants or social media marketing consultants who may attempt to game their ranking on the search engine.