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What to do when a competitor is spamming and it works

 11:59 am on Jan 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi guys.

I have a site that's very successful in a certain (not so large) niche. I have one major competitor with a very similar site. He is ranking better than me on some of the major keywords for the niche.

I decided to get to the bottom of this... and I found out that he is spamming. I found Lot's of comments in un-related sites. I also found posts about his site from several blogs, that you just see are paid-for posts in unrelated blogs. Many of those blogs looks exactly the same... and they are just filled with spam.

I found forum posts with links to his site in posts that simply list about 20 sites (un-related: DVD for sale, loans, etc...).

So I guess he is paying some 'shady' SEO firm to do this work for him. I wouldn't mind normally expect that it works great for him, and it hurts me.

What should I do? Can I report him to google? at least for the sites which I *know* are spam? Is it ethical? I'm not sure I want to go down that road...

Thanks in advance,




 7:04 pm on Jan 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

First, there's a similar current thread about "doorway pages" [webmasterworld.com]. a lot of that discussion applies to any kind of suspected spam.

I'd also say you want to be sure that the competitor is actually ranking BECAUSE of what you see as spam. It's often the case that the apparent spam is not really helping, it's just being ignored and not causing them to be banned.


 7:51 am on Jan 22, 2010 (gmt 0)


Thanks. Indeed I don't know how this competitor ranks so well. I may be wrong on the spam. Any ideas how can I find out more?

And how do I go about and report that kind of spam, anyway? In google's webmaster tools I can report a page in a results-page that is spam. But his page is *not* spam by itself (the page is good) - it's just that he uses spammy methods to reach a high position.



 8:14 am on Jan 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

I had a client that came to me to get a penalty removed after they copied what their competitor did. My client and their competitor had penalties.

From what you are talking about I don't think they are beating you with spam. Look at all their links. Even if that is why they are ranking it won't be hard to beat that. Just a few high quality links can make up for a bunch of shady stuff.


 4:15 pm on Jan 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't think it would do much good to report him to Google, but if the company in question are using dodgy techniques then they'll be doing this for others.

It might not be detectable by an algorithm, but analysing the full link profile in depth will show you if the sites that are linking to your competitor are also linking to others.

Get a list of sites in the network together and send *that* to Google.

Then you can keep your ethics intact :) and if Google act and kill the network and that is what is helping them beat you, all those links will effectively disappear.


 4:31 pm on Jan 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

I suspect that nothing will happen if you report this type of activity unless you can provide very strong evidence that there is a clear breach of Google's terms. It may seem absolutely clear to you that the activity is spam but the guys on Google's spam team seem to need their hands held so that they feel comfortable with penalising the activity. I think that they can't keep up with the really blatant stuff so anything in the dark side of a grey area gets no attention at all.




 4:40 pm on Jan 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just a few high quality links can make up for a bunch of shady stuff.

I would second that advice. You can spend a lot of time reporting the competitions' shady networks, but even if their sites get nuked the guy that takes their place might have the same tactics or worse. Getting great links for your own sites is probably the best rate of return on your time. Otherwise you can spend a lot of time getting someone's shady network reported while a solid competitor is overtaking you by adding great content and getting authority links.


 8:07 am on Jan 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the advice guys...

It may be true that I'm better off concentrating on my own site. My site has thousands of links, some of them very good. My competitor has MUCH more links, some of them are very good too, but many of them are simply spam. So it's all a bit annoying!



 3:59 pm on Jan 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Report it. That's about as much as you can do.

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