The aim of any company or blogger is to create the sort of content that will send their websites sailing up the search engine rankings. But for one French blogger, this achievement didn’t turn out to be the happy event she expected it to be.
When Caroline Doudet’s fashion and literature blog “Cultur’elle” included a blog post entitled “the place to avoid in Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino” the restaurant decided to take legal action. Consequently a judge ruled that Ms Doudet’s post should be amended and that she should pay damages of €1,500.
Ms Doudet stated that the decision made it a crime to be highly ranked on search engines. According to court documents, Ms Doudet’s restaurant review was ranked fourth in the Google search results for the restaurant. The judge also pointed out that the reputation of the restaurant was at risk as Ms Doudet’s blog had more than 3,000 followers, which she described as a significant number.
“The decision creates a new crime of being too highly ranked (on a search engine), or of having too great an influence” Ms Doudet told the BBC. “What is perverse, is that we look for bloggers who are influential, but only if they are nice about people” she added.
In her article, Ms Doudet complained about poor service and the poor attitude of the owner after she visited in August 2013. The restaurant owner took offense to the whole article, but the judge ruled that only the title should be amended, so that the phrase “the place to avoid” would be less prominent on the results page.
So, the debate about free speech on the internet rolls on. What is clear, however, is that well written, vibrant, original content will undoubtedly help your website obtain and retain a place high in the search rankings.