scottsonline - 3:16 am on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)
I just did a search for "promotional widget" for kicks. Widget is a term for a product in this industry with roughly 50-100k searches a month. The first two results are the same company. Position 1 is the regular company. Position 2 is an affiliate/duplicate site but they don't try to hide it as they provide a huge link at the bottom of the page saying "we are result #1" also. Result 3 is an affiliate - and they make this very clear all over the page for a major distributor in the industry. Result 4 is a company with FAQs in their footer that jams the footer with the keywords over and over. 2 or 3 results in the top 10 are from real companies, not affiliates etc.
When I ran this search in November of 2009 it returned 10 unique companies in the top 10 spots. We were not one of them, but they were legitimate competitors.
Using the same widget term and firing in "custom widget" I get a #1 result for a term with 100k searches that has the word "custom widget" 30 times on the homepage. Really? This is quality?