Ripoff Report, the site notorious for posting unverified anonymous reviews and complaints, seems to have lost major visibility in Google’s organic search results starting November 6.
I first noticed this today when searching for keywords related to Online Reputation Management (ORM) clients that we manage.
After checking about seven different keywords and only finding one still ranking in Top 10 on RipoffReport site, I came to the conclusion that something must be going on.
Even the one report still in top 10 was down about 6 positions.
I quickly got on Twitter and could not find any mentions of this and then contacted several colleagues and also posted in the SEJ private writer’s forum asking if anyone else had seen this.
Several others confirmed that they saw the same thing and someone even sent me the below SEMrush graph showing major ranking drops for RipOff Report.
For those of you not familiar with Ripoff Report, this is probably the worst complaint website you can get listed on, as it may instantly rank in Google Top 10 for your brand or name, resulting in lots of lost business.
The site has a “no removal” policy and has been known to even decline court-ordered removals.
In addition, when court orders are served to Google and Bing and the URL’s get removed, they may show up again several months later at a new URL within the site.
Is It an Algorithm Update?
As a curiosity, I ran some reports for some other major complaint sites on SEMrush and found that several others had lost rank, including PissedConsumer, ComplaintsBoard, DirtyScam, and ConsumerAffairs.
So maybe this is an algo update by Google targeting these kinds of sites. If no one has claimed a name for this yet, I propose to call it the “ORM Update.”
These days it is rare for Google to take manual action against any website, except in extreme circumstances.
More common is for them to tweak their algorithm to downgrade the rankings of certain types of sites that they feel do not provide quality content.
By now, there have probably been thousands of complaints to Google regarding these sites.
Google may even be upset at the fact that these sites do not honor court-ordered removals. So I would say with 99 percent certainty that this looks like an algorithm update.
I am sure that many people and business owners are going to be celebrating should these rankings remain this way.
Previously there had been some complete Ripoff Report de-indexes from Google and the URL being unreachable for a few days, but they have always lasted a few days, so do not celebrate just yet and give it a few days.
If you are one of the unfortunate victims listed on these sites, I hope the rankings stay this way for you. I can’t wait to share the news with my own clients, but I am gonna give it a few days myself!
Screenshots taken by author, November 2018
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