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  1. Digital Marketing
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    Google Bombshell!


    Warning: Open mind required to read this post

    Remember where you read it first: Reviews are the new links in Google's algorithm. PR is hidden from us not because Google just feels like hiding it from us but because itís calculated so differently now. Sure there are other factors that are important, including links but reviews are the biggest part of the algorithm now.

    I have seen this trend happening for quite some time, but hereís an obvious one. Do a search for Jambalaya Recipe:
    #1 allrecipes.com rating 4.7, 457 reviews
    #2 Food Network rating 4.6, 322 reviews
    #3 FoodNetwork rating 4.5, 151 reviews
    #4 epicurious rating 3.5, 96 reviews
    #5 myrecipes.com rating 4, 7 reviews

    Feel free to disagree, I have been highest repped member for quite some time now, I can give up the throne 

    Comments on this post

    • tstolber agrees
    • mainstwebguy agrees
    • ryandiscord agrees : Very cool!
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    For reviews this would actually make sense, sorting it by the highest voted recipes.


    Which does lead you to another related, will Google be sorting out products by price/reviews on there too?
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    I am sure not all reviews are created equal though. I wonder what other factors make up a review? Tone, length, quantity of reviews form reviewer, reviewer source, reviewer user? How those reviews are rated?

    Any thought son the additional aspects of the reviews?
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    Honestly I think this goes very deep. I think it's as complex as PR finally became. Speculating here but Google knows us. They know how often we review things, what we look at, where we spend our time online. What if we each had a authority score based on knowledge of a topic? I love old bourbon and I read a lot about it. If I were to leave a review of say a 12 year old Elijah Craig it would hold greater weight than if I wrote a review about baking cookies.

    So ranking algorithm might look like this:
    Average Quality Score based on specific knowledge of reviewers
    Number of reviews on this topic
    Average score from reviews
    Number of reviews on the site
    Relevant inbound links to page
    Relevant content

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by KernelPanic; Aug 31st, 2016 at 12:34 PM.
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  9. Dinosaur
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    This does make sense, Not sure if you read my post a couple of weeks ago but I received a penalty for displaying a aggregated rating within the footer section of a site, I must admit I thought it was a bit harsh as it was quite clear it was the average of all the products sold by the site to users. Now if google are using this within the algo then it makes more sense why this would be deemed as not appropriate and why google are even dishing out penalties. I had never considered it could be a ranking factor but if thats what its become then ya I can understand it better.
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  11. Roll the dice.. and live
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    One example does not prove much

    Try apple pie recepies or chocolate cheesecake recipe for example and you see the theory does not hold. The ranking is not tied to reviews.

    It is also possible that recepies that come higher in search are likely to get more reviews because they are tried ones. So your cause and effect may be backwards.

    I would not be shelling out money to get people to write me a whole lot of glowing reviews just yet

    Comments on this post

    • Test-ok agrees
    • NewDelhiSEO agrees
    Last edited by gazzahk; Sep 1st, 2016 at 03:39 AM.
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    Originally Posted by gazzahk
    One example does not prove much. Try chocolate cheesecake recipe for example and you see the theory does not hold
    I disagree, Cheesecake proves my theory exactly!

    #1 Highest Rated, most reviews
    #2 Food Network
    #3 5 out of 5 stars and 24 votes
    #4 3.6 out of 5 (not that great) and 628 reviews

    Just looked at Apple Pie Recipe also, #1 is the highest rated with the most reviews. Both examples you gave are exactly on point with my theory. Don't know what you're seeing but remind me never to ask you to testify for me in court

    Originally Posted by gazzahk
    I would not be shelling out money to get people to write me a whole lot of glowing reviews just yet
    If you were still in the game you would know that fake reviews are nearly impossible to get past the algorithms. I'm surprised you didn't know that, it's been like that for years.
    Last edited by KernelPanic; Sep 1st, 2016 at 06:31 AM.
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    Well ... Google isn't going to make this simple is it? If this is really the case it will have built in some factors discussed above as well as things like the freshness of reviews. Something that has had no reviews (or its reviews are trending towards one star) may rank lower which would make it look as if your theory was wrong even when it is right!

    I do see, in your original example, that myrecipes.com is #5 even though its review score is higher but 7 reviews is not enough to give a statistically valid aggregate so Google would be right to rank it lower.

    The only problem is what happens if someone produces an even better Jambalaya Recipe than allrecipes.com. It is never going to get discovered until it has a good block of reviews and it isn't going to get those until it is discovered ...
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    Have you seen this done on anything other than recipes? I saw some recipes with reviews broken up into two groups, separated by additional results but, still in order of ratings and reviews. For example search for "moscow mule recipe"

    I've noticed for a while now that shopping ad results get a number 1-5 for queries that include the words "best" or "top" and they appear to be in order based on ratings. Try the search "best dslr camera".

    https://twitter.com/adwords/status/707623737219272705

    According to Adwords, "when a user searches for "best" queries we display products ordered based on user ratings."

    Maybe Google organic is following this direction too for specific queries. Rankbrain is supposed to rank each query uniquely, maybe recipes are better ranked by ratings and reviews.
    Last edited by ryandiscord; Sep 2nd, 2016 at 03:51 PM.
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    Well it is certainly interesting and something I am going to be following. I do remember a video Cutts did a couple of years ago, suggesting that reviews would eventually be factored into ranking. So it is not a total surprise. Thanks for everyone's work on this..
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    Im shocked you never worked this out earlier. Just like links though, reviews will come under review, and todays practices may be tomorrows penalty.
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    I think KernalPanic is very correct in his analysis....
    Google is just a marketing firm.... period.... go check Forbes on small business, now lets listen to older marketing firms, which agree with Forbes. People like reviews, and are more likely to choose a product or website with more reviews. lets also not forget positive in nature. Google is not going to pass this business up. With their stressing local search, this gives small business a leg up locally and reviews play a big part of that. Google has has stated time after time it wants to show the most relevant results. Google has studied searcher behavior for years, knows that they click on sites with more reviews, so to no surprise, they show those sites with a better serp. Hell go sign up for a Google Account and Search console even suggest you get reviews. You have to dig deep and read the fine print.
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    Originally Posted by ryandiscord
    Have you seen this done on anything other than recipes?
    Yes, especially since Possum but I have seen it in maps also now. Google Orlando Golf Courses, number 1 has the highest number of reviews and the best, followed in number 2 by the second best and #3 is the 3rd best reviewed golf course
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    Happy to throw in my 2 cents for the local search results that my local business targets and I regularly watch

    Believe it or not, the "full" local results changes so often they appear to be completely random and reviews appear to have no impact whatsoever.

    Today's top listing businesses for the chosen keywords/suburb are below. Tomorrows list will be similar but ordered a lot more differently. Some days there are 8 businesses listed on "local", other times there are 20. Maybe going off-topic here, but the "local" ranking is a complete mystery to me when I see this list change so regularly and randomly with organic SERPs and reviews not possibly involved when 5 of the top 6 have no website and businesses with the most AND best reviews are at the bottom end of the list. The poorest overall reviews are in the top 4!
    (I'm happy to provide search keywords/suburbs if anyone wants to confirm the results of my general list below)

    I'm definitely no SEO expert, but if there was an algorithm that with a strong bias towards reviews, surely it would have some impact on every search result including this list.


    #1 no website, 2 reviews (1star & 5star)
    #2 no website, no reviews
    #3 website, no reviews
    #4 no website, 1 review(1star)
    #5 no website, no reviews
    #6 no website, 1 review(5star)
    #7 website, no reviews
    #8 website, no reviews
    #9 website, 1 review(5star)
    #10 website, 10 reviews(avg 4.9 stars)
    #11 website, 4 reviews(all 5 star)
    #12- #15 no reviews
    #16 no website, 36 reviews(avg 5 star)
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    Originally Posted by eclipsed
    Some days there are 8 businesses listed on "local", other times there are 20. Maybe going off-topic here, but the "local" ranking is a complete mystery to me when I see this list change so regularly and randomly with organic SERPs and reviews not possibly involved when 5 of the top 6 have no website and businesses with the most AND best reviews are at the bottom end of the list. The poorest overall reviews are in the top 4!
    (I'm happy to provide search keywords/suburbs if anyone wants to confirm the results of my general list below)

    Well the local results are a different algorithm, but all of the Local results I optimize have been limited to 3 listings for some time. And I can't remember there ever being 20.
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