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I can't keep up with competitors...

Any suggestions?



6:45 am on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm writing this out of pure desparation...

Our site is in a very competative market - for example - one of our top (2 word) key phrase comes back with 5,870,000 results on Google. Anyway, I have tried for over 2 years to get listed in the top 10 results with no luck. I have optimized our site till my fingers were bleeding (well..not really) - but our pages are nicely optimized - and when it comes to products, we usually are #1 in Google for any of the 1,000+ products we carry... but most people don't know the exact name of the products so they use a generic keyword phrase for our industry....this is where our site fails!

For the most important (generic) keywords in our industry we don't even show up on the first 10 pages of results on Google.

I have been doing manual link requests constantly - every day, but it seems like it is not enough - I can't catch up to the competition. The thing is, I've been doing my best to do what the majority of people on this board say to do - but I've seen many companies jump to the first page of search results as soon as they started their businesses online - and they are basically doing everything they "should not" be doing...But it works:
- getting reciprocal links from non-related sites
- getting links from any PR site 0+
- creating complete garbage sites with unique URLs [same IP address] to point to their main site.
- Etc.
At first I thought it was just a fluke and Google and other search engines would eventually weed them out... but its now been over 8 months and they are still in the #1 position. I've estimated that with the money they've made in 6months doing everything against the books - it would take me 3 years to generate that kind of revenue.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice something like this - but it just seems like with the industry I'm in - competition is cut-throat and some webmasters are doing all the things we've heard/read we're not supposed to do - but by seeing their results... I'm wondering how much truth there is in what I've read @ webmasterworld. [just food for thought I guess]

I aplogize for a long post - It has just been so frustrating trying to get to the first page of search results and basically not moving at all (we've even used a few different SEO companies)

Has anyone else experienced something like this? If so...what did you do? I need more sites linking to us and I'm at a point where I will almost do anything to get those links! I'm looking for a LOT of links - cause at the rate I'm getting links - I will never catch up to our competition - they will always be quite a few steps ahead when it comes to reciprocal/back links.

just an FYI - I've used Arelis - but the majority of its results are our competitors. So at this point I use Arelis to just spit out some URLs and I weed through them and visit each site before emailing - tedious and very slow.

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide!


12:10 am on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I really feel for you AprilS,
I have seen time and time again- guys with a lot of links, 90% of them are totally irrelevant, win the game. And those who talk about a site with 90 links in the top 10, do not know how many other, low PR backlinks that site had.
There is a site showing 100 backlinks of PR 4+ in google , which has actually 5000 other links that do not show in google backlinks but do exist, and this site is in top 10 for a lot of terms.
You could really try that, get a domain for experiments, get a lot of links to it, mostly irrelevant, because there are no other links and see what happens.


12:36 am on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Oh, and another thing I forgot to mention - the website I was talking about is not even a home page - it's an internal page of a subdomain! Something like : widget.gadget.com/widget1.html

;) This is exactly why it is ranking so high.


1:20 am on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My company some months back build out a domain that sold one of our niche lines of products, soley for the purpose of exploring optimization and how well we could do before risking our main domain.

Now this site had a product based sitemap - it iterated the products and linked to each on, and searches for "brand name widget or model" found us easily, but our categories (double and single word phrases) were nowhere to be found.

Eventually the number of products grew to a point that necessitated a recursive sitemap, and for the heck of it I added category links, our products fell a few notches but as a result some months later we sat ~5 of 2.5 million. Obviously the interveneing months saw any number of changes in links and the site and such but I strongly feel that the most prominent changes and the resulting shift was from telling google via one of the strongest resources at my disposal "no this is what my site is about - these other things are trivialities, throw them on froogle and be done with it".


4:01 am on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I quickly reviewed some of your posts in other forums (Yahoo, php) and can see that your position in Google’s SERPS is not your only problem. It seems to me that these different problems could be related to each other.

Optimization, for example, implies that your url includes the keyword. I’m not sure if it is the case.

If you have tons of good original content (“tons” of “good” “original” content), good “internal” linking (including apropriate anchor text), good titles and headings, summaries, description tags, good internal distribution of PR, and generally a good informative and valuable site, it would be odd that you don’t have a good position (although not necessarily among the top ten, if your market is so crowded).

You need external links, of course, but as other said here you don’t need tons of links to compete. Content is king.


1:49 pm on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

AprilS: (this will sound really dumb!)

You have lots of "collector" pages (my terminology)
that rate/rank highly for specific product names.

Do each and every one of them point back to your main
index.html page with _anchor text_ using your desired main search word/phrase?

If not, that is the first thing I would fix. Instant
relevant links with your favored search term.

Best - Larryhat


2:39 pm on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

To be truly successful and retire young all you have to do is find one thing, that nobody else sells, that everyone wants, for only one dollar. Then you'll have is made!

I sympathize with your situation. Maybe a local, traditional advertizing strategy? Then you use your web site as a store front.

The Inter-nut is so cluttered these days!


3:30 pm on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


This is why in my original post I was asking if anyone knew of a way to get a lot of links in a relatively quick manner. I do have Arelis but it seems to come back with a huge list of competitors, so I manually weed through Arelis's results - it is very time consuming and at this rate it will take a long time to get that many people to link to us. Does anyone have suggestions on how to get links quickly (w/out FFA link farms...etc)?

A reluctance to link to competitors is understandable. Experience has also shown it to be unwise.

If you choose your link partners wisely, your direct competitors will be the best reciprocal link partners you will ever get.

Why? Relevance. Example: Let's say two visitors click through to your site selling green widgets. One visitor came from a link on another site that sells green widgets. The other came from a site that sells yellow gadgets.

Which visitor is more likely to buy your green widgets? The answer of course is the one that came from another green widgets site. He has pre-qualified himself simply by clicking from one site selling green widgets to another one. The chances are pretty darn good that he is looking to buy a green widget.

For this reason, a link from a direct competitor provides the most targeted traffic you can get.

You're probably saying to yourself "But I'll be sending my precious traffic to a competitor's site". Yes, you certainly will. But your competitor will also be sending his precious traffic to your site!

Better still, the targeted anchor text in a link from a perfectly matched on-theme site will provide a SE rankings boost resulting in even more traffic.

Again, if you choose your link partners wisely, you will always receive more net traffic than you send away and that traffic will be the most targeted traffic you can get.

Now, for the "linking wisely" part:

1 - Make sure your link is easily seen on a popular page with decent PageRank.

2 - Give your link partner good value by doing the same with his/her link on your site.

3 - Don't accept a link that is buried on a "links" page. Demand a prominant link, preferably on the home page and be wiling to give one in return. (Note: Reluctance to link out from the home page is also a big mistake for exactly the same reasons).

4 - Be judicious with your anchor text and description. Give the SE spiders healthy food and your link partners' visitors a reason to click through to your site.

I have been following this strategy for over a year now. Each and every month my traffic increases along with comparable increases in SE rankings. And guess which visitors convert best - Not the traffic from Google but the traffic that comes in from my competitor's sites.

Of course all of this is based solely on my own personal experience and your mileage may vary.


6:48 pm on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Larryhat - Yes, all of our product pages link back to our homepage as well as links back to the category/sub-category the product belongs in...as well as linking to other products within our product description pages.

birdstuff - thanks for your detailed information. Yes, I have been reluctant to link to competitors...but what you've said makes sense! I really shouldn't be too concerned about loosing our traffic to customers as our site looks better than most of our competitors..and our prices are more reasonable.... :-) ...but if the traffic isn't there - none of that matters :-) I think I'll start including our competitors in link requests.


6:54 pm on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Speaking about getting links, I found a site which has stolen links 150 from a Government site ( his link is only visible in source code of the Government site web pages).

Government sites do not sell or permit private links, and the fact it's hidden proves he has been crafty.

Also visiting his website, I found content stolen from over a two dozen sites using a website copier.

With our hard work and sincerity, it becomes difficult to compete with such unethical sites when they steal our content and rank better by such tricks. This hurts honest and small website owners like us.

I would be please to share his URL is anyone could sticky mail me.



11:05 pm on Jun 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

donstar - It sounds like you should report that site to search engines to get them penalized. I think all you need to do is to be able to show they are stealing/duplicating content which is not theres. I'm not certain on exactly how to report a site to search engines as I've never done so... but I can understand your frustration. At one point we had a site copy all of our product images and descriptions... it was not cool at all. I ended up contacting the hosting company and eventually they got shutdown.

Regarding the links on government sites - have you thought of contacting those government sites? I can see a couple things 1) The government sites have no clue someone is puting those links on there. 2) The individual may have developed those government sites and is just using those domains for a little extra PR. If #2 is involved...well, depending on the email address you choose to email to inform them... the person who put the links in there may be the one receiving your email.


3:18 am on Jun 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Ofcourse the Webmaster is gaining in some way. These commercial links are not permitted on Government sites hence it's only visible in source code. As requested by you, i have sent you his URL by sticky mail.


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