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competition is killing me

 3:21 am on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hello everyone! I need some advice please. I have a small business and I would like to get my site to the top of the serps for search terms that include my city. For example, "widgets, widgetville california" but there is a site that continously gets the top spot for any city you type in. The company isn't even local, it's across the country but when you click on it its loaded with the name of whatever city you type in with the keyword. If you type in "widgets, widgetville" it pops up at #1, if you type in "widgets, widgetburg" same thing. Has anyone ever seen this and is it ethical? I get the feeling it is black hat. You should see the pages, exact same content with just the name of the city.



 4:24 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Can you post your competitor's site's link?

brotherhood of LAN

 4:31 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Now now jjmax, don't be too hasty ;)

I'd tend to avoid sending your competitors link to Google, particularly if your goal is to take their place at #1. Doesn't bode well for the future..

The company isn't even local, it's across the country but when you click on it its loaded with the name of whatever city you type in with the keyword

This is fairly common for large 'authority' sites. I imagine they have a large number of backlinks.

These sites can rank highly across the board for deeper pages in their site, more so if the domain/site has been around a long time.

My advice would be to look for sites that focus on your area and try to get links from them. Also look for links relating to the subject in general.

Not only are you receiving links from on-topic pages, the links will help your goal of getting into the top ranks of related queries through search engines.

If you feel that the site lacks the quality required to be #1, you shouldn't have a problem ranking near or above it over the longer term.

[edited by: brotherhood_of_LAN at 4:32 pm (utc) on Aug. 26, 2008]


 5:13 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

OK tell me if this is ethical, if you modify the url by changing the city and state only, the same site comes up. How can this be?


[edited by: tedster at 5:21 pm (utc) on Aug. 26, 2008]
[edit reason] use example.com [/edit]


 5:22 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

You know I hate to give these guys more hits but I think this is shady. At the top of the page it says "" webdesign since 1999. Insert your city in the quotes. What is it a java script dynamic. I know this place doesn't have a page for every city on earth or does he?

brotherhood of LAN

 5:27 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's a fairly common occurrence

1) Webmaster has a topic and a list of X number of locations
2) Site runs using a scripting language that takes the URL and returns data based on the URL.

This isn't an issue exclusive to your competitor, and I agree that it can result in pages lacking quality or original content.


 6:05 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

shop them!


 6:55 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

mr_chill: By all means ignore the comment about reporting spam for your competitors. This is just plain bad mojo, unless they are doing something truly black hat.

Instead, observe what they are doing, how they are doing it, and do it better. This is what competition really means.

It doesn't matter that they are getting results for every city in the country. What you need to do is figure out how to match or beat what they are doing - more content pages, more pages relevant to the topic, more pages relevant to your city.

Don't take this personally - since you mentioned web design and they are killing you in the SERPS, sometimes it just means they are better than you at their job and deserve that position. So you use them to learn from.


 7:19 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ouch! rocknbil, The truth hurts. I can do what they are doing but my original question is still unanswered, is it black hat? I don't want what I learn from others to get me penalized. Thank you all for your replies, I am new to the business and this has been a learning experience for me however painful, (rocknbil). I am really getting to like this forum so I'll see you around, Chris


 10:39 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ahh, I didn't mean it to be, it's a rule I try to apply to myself. Rather than seeing competition as "superior," I prefer to see it as they know something I don't and I stand to learn from them.

Black hat, I don't think so, "spammy," very likely. There are a great number of ways developers can dance along the edge of SE's spam tolerances and get away with it, but when you look at what they are doing, spam is still spam.

I see it all the time, particularly in the Real Estate Industry for some reason, they draw in keywords that have nothing to do with the topic in the interest of showin' 'dem numbers to a manager somewhere.


 2:49 pm on Aug 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I thought that Spam-linking is a Black-hat SEO technique, no?
If so, mojo aside, why would anyone want to emulate this type of behaviour?


 3:10 pm on Aug 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

No NO I do not want to emulate that site and I regret giving the impression that I would. I think it is shady. I want to be where he is but I will get there ethically or not at all. Poor choice of words on my part. Please do not lump me in with the likes of that.


 11:04 am on Aug 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

For a white-hat piece of advice: Do not forget the content side. Write texts on "geography" topics, ie., widgetville, individual neighbourhoods, nearby cities, etc. Emphasise your localness, in combination with your industry. eg., you sell widgets? Write a guide where to use widgets in #*$! (#*$! = geography keyword)

I have seen this help in the real estate business mentioned above; content is king!

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