As of November 6, Ripoff Report and a few other lesser known complaint sites like ScamBook, PissedConsumer and Consumer Affairs have lost major rankings in Google. I realized this while I was completing a few keyword searches for Online Reputation Management clients that we manage.
Out of the seven keywords I searched, only one was still ranked in the Top 10 with Ripoff Report. At that moment I figured something must have changed. The one report I did find in the top 10 had dropped down to 6 positions lower. I immediately checked Twitter and reached out to some of my colleagues and the forum asking if anyone else knew what was going on.
Many others mentioned they were aware of this, and one of them forwarded a SEMrush graph that highlighted major ranking drops for the site. For anyone who has never heard of this site, it’s a site you don’t want your business listed on. It typically ranks in Google’s Top 10 for brand, costs you tons of business.
Many of these sites refuse to remove your info once it has been added, and can even refuse court-ordered removals. Additionally, if Google and Bing are court ordered to comply to remove the URL, they can resurface a few months down the line with a new URL.
In an effort to get to the bottom of this situation I used SEMRush to run some reports on a few other complaint sites. I found that they had also lost rank. The sites I noticed the changes on were ComplaintsBoard, DirtyScam, ConsumerAffairs, ScamBook and PissedConsumer. There is a chance this might be an algorithm update taking place by Google, specifically for these types of sites.
I also posted an article about this at Search Engine Journal.