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Accidentally ranking higher than an 'official' site?

 4:32 am on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have done this a few times on my own website and it usually ends with people visiting my site thinking I have something to do with the official site.

Everyone is always posting about SEO and other techniques to get their site ranked higher in Google, what about how to rank it lower?



 4:43 am on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why would you not want people to think you are the official site? In my mind, this is a goldmine.


 4:44 am on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Take the term off of your site or at least out of your title.


 4:50 am on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Accidentally ranking higher than an 'official' site?

That's happened to me also. At first I actually was embarrassed by it. I got over it.

what about how to rank it lower

From my perspective, that's there issue to deal with. Let them work on their site to make it rank higher.

Some "official sites" are so poorly built that ranking higher than them is not very hard to if you build even a halfway decent page.


 4:53 am on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

If only just removing the words would always work... I don't see the words "miserable failure" anywhere on the President's web page ;)


 3:38 pm on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't see the words "miserable failure" anywhere on the President's web page

No, but if you Google on the word "failure", the first listing that comes up is a link to his bio on the White House website! lol


 4:09 pm on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

i agree with ganderla there,

whats wrong with ranking higher then them? surely you make something from the site, why not be at the top and make more?


 4:35 pm on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

You could clearly link to the official site if that makes you feel better.

Done properly, both sites should benefit.

Its refreshing to see someone who prefers things in their proper order
rather than just another opportunity to scam the public. -Larry


 5:44 pm on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

You might be careful about linking to the official site if their name is trademarked...
Maybe you should just sell them the site ;)


 7:41 pm on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

larryhatch said:
You could clearly link to the official site if that makes you feel better.

I would second this opinion. There have been times when I was trying to find the site related to a particular company, and accidentally ended up on another site. I was clearly not the other person who had done so, because the site had a visible but discreet note saying something like "If you are looking for [insert name of other place]'s site, please click <link>here</link>."

I thought the provision of the link was very considerate, and I would suspect your accidental visitors would feel likewise.

physics said:
You might be careful about linking to the official site if their name is trademarked.

I don't think providing a link could be construed as a violation of the link target's trademark rights. A hyperlink is just that: a connection, an arrow, a pointer. It lays no claim to ownership or affiliation.

But if you're concerned about appearances, a small note could be added to the copyright notice and other junk at the bottom of the page, along the lines of "[other guy's name] and the trademark(s) of [other guy] are the property of [other guy]; this site is not affiliated with [other guy]."

Just my $0.02....



 3:35 pm on Dec 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Also keep this in mind,
People are stupid.

Seriously. I run a site where it is quite obvious that I have no affiliation with any of the thousands of authors I list. I get daily e-mails and occassional snail mail from people thinking that I am one of the authors they looked at on the site. Some of them I can blame on the fact that it is younger kids, but others, like those from elementary school teachers are just sad.


 11:05 pm on Dec 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

I also have a site for a popular series of books in Australia for young-adult readers and used to get emails from people and teachers all the time thinking I was the author.


 6:42 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I did this with a large boat firm in the US it was fun for a while but I kept getting people emailing me in error, as I must be the makers.


 7:59 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

You could clearly link to the official site if that makes you feel better.

I'm no lawyer but from what I hear from 'domainers' this could give the official site cause to take your domain if in fact your domain name might in any way come close to their trademarks (as opposed to being completely generic or unrelated). Just fair warning ;) And if there is no problem with putting up the link then why not sell them the ad space? Basically you'll be selling them your SEO services in kind of an indirect way. You earned the #1 spot so you might as well get credit for it.


 8:33 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

what about how to rank it lower?

Easy. Just take the following simple steps:

  • Use about 50-75 <title> tags
  • Place a "keywords" section at your footer, where the tiny text is the same color as the background
  • Use all kinds of 1x1px transparent gifs on the page
  • Use ultra-long alternate text stuffed with keywords in said 1x1px transparent gifs
  • Add a bit of hidden text here and there, with each term wrapped in a few <h1> tags.
  • File a spam report with Google
  • Wait


Alternately (and more easily), try disallowing all bots in your robots.txt file, or use Google's URL Removal tool. Any of these should get your site out of the index.

Of course, if you want to still be in the index but just rank lower, none of these will work. Just remove the "offending" terms from your page if possible.


 11:28 pm on Dec 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

It usually happens if I use the same terms as the official site in the same order. I will have to remember not to do it next time.

I would have thought the bare bones web page and plain text would give it away that it was not the official site?


 4:20 am on Dec 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think so long the ranking is basically accidental / coincidental then it is ok.

As a good example, when I do a search for Interpol on Google, I want to see THIS site as number 1:
I would have little problem if per chance a really great site covering the world’s pre-eminent police organisation in depth and providing a ton of related content happened to rank above the official site, I would be understanding of this.

As things stand, currently some band with the name 'Interpol' ranks as number 1... Frustrating to me, but not out of hand as it is very possible fans of this band may feel the International Police department isn't as good as the music, ok whatever...

If per chance it was some sponsor-filled garbage not even remotely related to either one and evidently designed only for gaining a few clicks and it was misleading in its approach, I would not be pleased.

Word of note: The band site took me a few minutes to realize it wasn't a ringtone site... Almost!

Because yes, it is about proper ranking... Now if your site covers the subject better than the official site, take it as a compliment as google takes other things into consideration besides backlinks and officialness.

As much as the results are skewed at times, in some ways the surfers themselves are responsible.

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