Ok, not really… maybe. I have seen people joke about starting an uproar in the SEO community as  method for getting good ranking by baiting SEO’s into reacting to you and writing posts about how terrible you are for saying what you said. Not that making people angry is necessarily a good business practice, but anger can equal links, which is good in the eyes of the all mighty Google now isn’t it?

Case in point, New York Times recently wrote an article about the owner of DecorMyEyes that discovered that bad business was good business (to the point that he stalks and threatens his customers to get a reaction out of them). He discovered that the more complaints he got, the higher his search engine ranking, the higher his search engine ranking the more sales he made. He openly states that he doesn’t want the customers that may research reviews and see that he doesn’t have the best reputation online, only those that search the brand name and buy the sunglasses.

So, essentially, Google is rewarding bad business over good business. Although there isn’t a statement out about whether or not Google takes sentiment into account, online chatter improves rankings because it gets you more links. It is viewed by the search engines that the more people are “talking about” or linking to your company, the more valuable your company is to searchers  and the higher it shows up in the organic search engine results.

Anyone who has ever worked in customer service has heard the old adage that someone who has had a bad customer experience will tell 10 people and a satisfied customer will tell 1 person.  So it seems that making people angry is going to earn you a lot more links than making people happy (maybe 10 to 1, let me know if you dare test it out 😉 ).

So why strategically piss off SEO’s? The optimize their own sites and make sure that they get crawled (your angry SEO links will quickly be indexed) and they also make sure that their websites have good authority in Google (so the links will carry a little more juice). I believe that the biggest reaction I have every seen within the community was a situation involving certifying SEO’s, and the community felt like the person setting it up didn’t have enough authority to do this… I wish I could remember the site now to look at the back links!

So… SEO is dead or whatever it is that baits the link extravaganza this week…

Update: 12/1/10 – Google updated their index to resolve this issue, bad business is no longer good business (or so they say). Which means this post could now be called “Why You Should Make Every SEO Super Happy.”

Now the question is whether or not sentiment should impact your search rankings and whether or not it can be tracked appropriately to do so.

If you are one of the good guys, I have some great notes from Pubcon about managing your brand reputation online..

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