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Can a rival sabotage your ranking?
Google says there is 'almost nothing' a rival can do.
Ian_M

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 3:23 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I sometimes wonder if a rival site is somehow sabotaging my position in Google search results. I am sure this is just paranoia, but Google's webmaster tips are not entirely reassuring. They say there is 'almost nothing' a rival can do to damage your rankings. I donít like that 'almost'. It implies there IS something a rival can do. Does anyone know what the 'something' implied by 'almost nothing' might be? Is everyone confident that a rival canít do anything in this respect?

 

Nimzovich

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 5:13 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

It implies there IS something a rival can do

Sure. He can simply copy your content, put on a better domain and you're toasted.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 5:49 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

They say there is 'almost nothing' a rival can do to damage your rankings.

The key phrase there is almost nothing.

I donít like that 'almost'. It implies there IS something a rival can do.

There are many things that can be done to sabotage one's ranking. I don't think we want to discuss those at the public level, at least the ones that work. ;)

Does anyone know what the 'something' implied by 'almost nothing' might be?

Dynamic sites would be the premiere target for competitive sabotage. An improper server response, content under multiple URI strings, etc.

Is everyone confident that a rival canít do anything in this respect?

An emphatic NO! ;)

BigDave

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 6:08 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

They used to say there was "nothing", then people started showing things that could be done. Google had to change it to "almost nothing".

Without discussing exactly how this can be done, we can discuss how to reduce the chance of it happening. The more robust your site, the harder it is to do things to it.

Build links. Build content. Avoid duplicate URLs. Improve onsite navigation. Make sure your on-page factors are in order. Verify your server setup.

texasville

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 7:42 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>>>>Verify your server setup<<<<<<<

And I can't stress how much that particular point means. A proper host that knows what they are doing and stays informed can mean all the difference between success and failure.

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 8:00 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

If your rival is doing some keyword stuffing or doing something that is obviously against googles guidelines, you can report them!

We have been going through the serps for our niche lately and been finding a lot of keyword stuffers! We report them and a few days later they are no where to be found...

Nimzovich

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 8:01 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Build links.

Why? I'm seeing PR1 copies sending to hell originals with PR6.

Build content.

...and thieves will be happy.

Nimzovich

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 8:14 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

We report them and a few days later they are no where to be found...

You're lucky. The first of the 50 copies of my site was reported 18 months ago, and ranks very well.

BigDave

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 9:04 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why? I'm seeing PR1 copies sending to hell originals with PR6.

I didn't say to do one thing, I said to do all those things. If a PR1 beats a PR6 is it because PR is probably the only thing that site has going for it. My post was about building a robust site where it has EVERYTHING going for it.

...and thieves will be happy.

Only if you have a weak site that doesn't outrank them.

Halfdeck

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 10:02 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why? I'm seeing PR1 copies sending to hell originals with PR6.

Then don't build links. Your loss, my gain.

Pirates



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 11:40 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Don't assume pr will protect your site from beeing damaged by a competitor.

Nimzovich

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 8:34 am on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> weak site

Thousands of inbound links or PR7 indicate my site is robust, but if you're saying that being outranked by thieves indicates my site is weak, there's nothing else to talk abut.

>> Then don't build links. Your loss, my gain.
>> Don't assume pr will protect your site from beeing damaged by a competitor.

So we agree that this sentence [google.com]

There's almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking

must read

It's quite easy for a competitor to harm your ranking by, for example, copying your content.

dangerman

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 1:06 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Exactly

how come one week after about 800 pages off my site were copied, only my ads were replaced with their ads, mys site got hit with a -30 penalty?

I filed a DMCA complaint, though before this was acted on I got the US host to dump them.

However it seemed to 'trip' the penalty wire. 7 months later, and after having completely sleaned up and trimmed my site, the penalty is still in place. No word of course from Google.

My own view is that in isolation, the act of copying perhaps will not do damage, but if it happens with a site that has already committed one or more webmaster infractions ( from Google's point of view ) it may bring down the pack of cards.

BigDave

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 7:05 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thousands of inbound links or PR7 indicate my site is robust

You just don't get it, it isn't all about PR. It wasn't even all about PR back in the days when PR was much stronger.

Google has been saying, since at least 2001, that there are at least 100 factors that go into ranking. PR is just one of those factors. They now say "hundreds" of factors.

Robust means strong, naturally strong, in most of those factors. Onpage factors, onsite factors and off site factors are all important. Some you can control and some you can't.

The fact that you claim that having a PR7 proves that your site is robust, just shows why someone was able to get you like they did. If you think like that, you're easy pickins.

Halfdeck

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 7:58 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>Thousands of inbound links or PR7 indicate my site is robust, but if you're saying that being outranked by thieves

Unless you sticky me your url and the url the copy is on, you're as believable as some guy claiming Adwords ruined his organic rankings.

Nimzovich

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 4:16 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> Thousands of inbound links or PR7 indicate my site is robust

BigDave,

I mentioned these two indicators just because I'm too lazy to enumerate all. In my topic and language, there's only a site as good as mine. It has thousands of pages of content, with photos and videos. It's an informative site. It's one of "the two reference sites" in his subject in the same sense that Wikipedia is; when someone link to one, also link to the other. It doesn't sell anything; lives from adsense. It links only to good sites on the same or similar subject. It exchanges less than ten links with sites with exactly the same subject. It receives thousands of unsolicited links from cultural and educational sites, both to main or to inner pages. Dmoz has included a lot of my inner pages without asking for it. Its Alexa Rank is 18.000 (the other site has lower Alexa Rank). It's so well known, and so many people come to it by searching for the name of the site, than the name of the site appears at Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool above popular searches, and at Google Suggest. It's #1 at Yahoo or MSN for main keyword, which is a quite popular search since Internet is Internet. Of course, there are other indicators; feel free to ask me for them.

I understand your point. "Be robust and thieves will not harm your" is an idea I've found in this forum hundreds of times. But, is it true for being repeated?

Is it not precipitated to say "If you are outranked you are wake, if you are robust you are not outranked?" Is it not like saying "Sky is blue, if not blue is not sky, if not sky is not blue"? Can we forget definitions and have a look at the sky?

- Everywhere on SERPS there are clones of ODP ranking above dmoz.org
- A site with not a single original word, that only copies content from my site and other sites and credit them with a link, has Alexa Rank 13.000
- Even without any bad intention, a normal user copy-paste a page in a forum with a link to original page, and Bang.

Why can't we say: "Google is unable to tell originals from copies"? Because that doesn't agree with definitions? Because it's unbelievable?

Halfdeck,

>> as believable as

See above.

>> Unless you sticky me your url

Sorry if I don't want to tell my url to someone who said "Your loss, my gain."

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 4:30 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why can't we say: "Google is unable to tell originals from copies"? Because that doesn't agree with definitions? Because it's unbelievable?

I would believe this is one of the sabotage techniques. For example, a new site launches in a competitive space. The scrapers start their routine as soon as it launches. The scraped sites then get linked to from hundreds, if not thousands of blog entries that are all done automatically. Do you know how many blogs are out there that get spammed day in and day out? And, Google indexes them. I know, I get various Google Alerts throughout the day and I see the scraper sites getting indexed.

In this case, it's a first come, first serve basis. The one with the most links wins, to start. Eventually over time, the natural linking process will supercede the blog links. Also, the search engines will have done their thing with filtering and hopefully get it sorted out, or at least that is the behavior I've seen with Google.

I think Google can eventually distinguish the original from the copies, it just takes a bit of time. It is not something that is going to happen overnight (in most instances).

Spine

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 4:51 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, as someone who's probably been screwed by what you describe above, I wish Google would take a tip from MSN and Yahoo, because they didn't fall for it, and kept my site where it belongs, instead of ranking the scraper, or tanking both.

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 4:54 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

..

[edited by: trinorthlighting at 5:17 pm (utc) on Nov. 16, 2006]

Nimzovich

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 4:58 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults, BigDave,

Maybe at last you're right, and I was wrong. My site is one of the fully-recovered sites in the current data refresh. The inner pr6 page that I put as an example is now #2, and the pr1 copy is nowhere.

Let me pray.

Halfdeck

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 6:43 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sorry if I don't want to tell my url to someone who said "Your loss, my gain."

That wasn't a request. And my "your loss" response was to you claiming "building links and creating content doesn't matter" which is a completely defeatist way of looking at the Web.

People claim all sorts of things on boards. Usually, they're overlooking something or creating a misleading impression unintentionally by wording something inaccurately. For example, last night, somewhere else someone claimed he had "over 10k pages removed from Google." I had his url, so I ran a site: search - and what do ya know? 47,000 pages come up in the results. Inurl: search returns 190 pages. So his pages weren't "removed." They just got tagged as supplemental results. But without manually checking his url, I would have gotten a completely different impression.

Why can't we say: "Google is unable to tell originals from copies"?

Of course we can. I have plenty of blog posts scraped the moment they're published.

Nimzovich

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3156256 posted 7:30 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> a completely defeatist way of looking at the Web.

Let's say "the bitter result of six months being outranked"

>> People claim all sorts, etc.

I've been reading WW since 2002 and I couldn't agree more.

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