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With the size of the Thomas Register data base of industrial companies (something like 150,000 companies), I would expect them to eventually hold top rankings in most industrial product serps.
Do you think Google will allow this 'take over' of industrial serps? And if so, ranking well in the Thomas Register will become a priority for these types of companies. I might add here for those that are not aware, the costs to rank well in the Thomas Register are often in the $5,000+ range with many companies including one I worked for spending over $100,000 annually.
Your opinions and predictions are appreciated.
1) In the TR whoever pays the most is on top regardless of content.
2) The top ranking by the TR in Google is achieved with the content of ALL the companies in an entire TR category. This could be 1000 companies or more.
Why would this be any different than rewarding ODP with the top position on a given serp for the total information in one of their categories?
The keyword density is high on each result page, these listings might be considered spamming on other sites.
And the back links are large in number because of all the interlinked pages of listings on the TR site. Several hundred BL's for each result page.
If the TR wants to increase their rank, all they have to do is return more listings on a given page per term. Currently it appears to be 25 company names with descriptions.
The fact that customer pay for inclusion on the site is not relevant. The use of multiple "*ez.com" domains may be, but I couldn't find an example of the situation you are describing. A few quick searches on various industrial products did not bring up any Thomas Register listings or *ez.com domains.
The competing sites for the search term in question are significant companies with small amounts of content and but equal PR. They could be better, but this is not a product you would go into much depth about. The sites are reasonable for the product offering. They could be made artificially heavy with content to compete. But keep in mind the only content on the TR pages is a list.
It seems somehow not in the spirit of Google to allow this weight for lists.
I checked their backlinks too - currently the companies that are listed to not link back to TR. Imagine the link popularity if that were the case? Then it would be extremely difficult to knock them off the top rankings.
Technically I think you may be right but look at it this way:
The TR ranks #1 for a term and when you click that link for that product search what you get is the company that paid the most to the TR for that top position.
In other words, you click the Google link and you get the company that paid the most money to be in that spot.
If anyone would like the actual search term I speak of, sticky me.
joined:Oct 23, 2002
Looks like all the PR is coming from internal links and a highly optimized linking pattern. Not spam, IMO - they're just doing everything right. Google might look askance at a smaller, content-light site using multiple domains in this way, but I can't see them spamflagging an industry leader for the tactic.
Anyway, the top 2 pages are both only PR5, which is good for a deep page but far from overwhelming.
Disclaimer: I run a similar kind of subject-specific directory that tries to add value over what a search engine or a mainstream directory can offer. From my perspective, the Thomas site is a great place to start for that search phrase and Google is well advised to rank them #1. However I agree that the multiple-domain listings suck.
With well researched comprehensive categorization, 5000 suppliers listed currently and following basic guidelines for search engine optimization, we have been able to beat Thomas in a lot of the keywords. Our problem is not attracting the buyer traffic with the keywords to look at our supplier listings, but convincing suppliers that listing with us is much cheaper and actually gets them more leads than TR!
Ofcourse, like I said we are only targetting a subset of the generic Thomas domain and their adwords and other marketing budgets beats us! Also our listings cost $300 on the average as opposed to the 1000's charged by Thomas!
Thanks for the post. Yes the TR was entrenched as the major advertising player in the industrial world until the internet came along.
The monopoly they enjoyed for a very long time is broken, for there are other good ways to reach industrial buyers now. It sounds like you are one of them. Many happy returns.
Thanks for the sticky. I stickied u back with a variation for the keyword where we are 3rd and 4th. Nothing to boast about, but just to prove that all is not lost.
Also, I am not sure it is their *ez domains or *hq domains (From verdex, which for some reason does not seem to do as well), but more just the fact of backlinks, categorization systems and enormous vendor listings.
They've got over 170 ez.com domains and over 20 hq.com domains already up, and more on the way.
I just checked out one niche in particular and found the following...
Take your site and give each page its own URL. Make sure the URL has the keywords your targeting in it. Then, link each url to many other pages within your site. Forget about informative content, just randomly list a bunch companies with short descriptions of what they do.
Sort of sounds like the old way to optimize for the Yahoo directory.
The good thing is now that if I want to look for an industrial source, I now have a lot of choices: the TR, Google, Yahoo...hmmm! Will the monopoly ever end.
[edited by: WebGuerrilla at 5:53 pm (utc) on Jan. 31, 2003]
[edit reason] No specific search phrases [/edit]
I have sticky mailed my profile to you and am happy to identify myself to anyone who does likewise for me. As a an SEO professional, I merely stay anonymous so that I can protect my clients.
Some people come to us with very spammy, unethical sites and we need to be able to ask questions at this forum without worrying about someone tracking down the client and penalizing them before we can fix their site.
As for my frustration. The TR's methods SEEM to go against much of what we all read here. Obviously, they are just doing a good job optimizing thier site. From an SEO perspective, it is well done. Of course, we must realize that these guys are also one of Google's top advertisers. I don't question Google for letting them do what they are doing or the TR for taking advantage of proven SEO techniques. But I think everyone would have to admit that the spirit of Google search results was not to have 50% of the top rankings be different versions of the same site no matter how respected that site may be.
Time will tell...
I would really appreciate your input on this topic.
I am honestly just trying to understand the Google thinking on this one, assuming Google accepts this practice from the Thomas Register.
I have completely supported the terms of Google and this seems to break the very root of the rules... hundreds and maybe soon to be thousands of keyword domains pointing to one company. As well as multiple 'first page, different domains' results to one company.
I do not agree with your opinion here. I have come to find that the Thomas Register is one of, if not the largest, paying advertiser in Google.
In the serps for the term I speak of, the TR has the largest possible ad at the top of the page and 4 results in the top 8. Just buy the Google Adword to capture the right-hand ad position, and boom complete domination of a serp by a paid advertiser.
I believe to support this type of search result I would either not understand the Google mission or profit by the action of the advertiser.
Brett, you may be mising the enormity of the flaw here. I missed it too till I really saw the example that Jon_King was talking about. Almost all the first page results were taken up by different *ez sites. And then there are sites like 1stindustrialdirectory.com which again guess what, points to Thomas content.
All these *ez sites are just shortcuts into their categorization system and should be links from a main site. Their decent categorization, supplier content and page rank would still cause them to be prominent with 2 or 3 positions in the first page, but that should be it.
Seeing this google flaw a year back, we too thought of exposing our content through different domains instead of a single site, but just figured Google would fix this hole real quick (Or should I say we didnt do it in the spirit of the internet ;-)) As part of a similar vertical directory business, it is our dream to have to "scale back" one day, either due to real concern for the internet or just plain penalization ;-)
Since you ask for suggestions, the first one I would make is to reduce the multiplicity of domains. It appears that essentially the same products can show up in 4 or 5 different domains, and that doesn't seem like good information architecture to me.
Without having taken a close look at the overall range of sites, I would suggest you find a single meaningful way to break down products broadly, whether that is by use, by industry, by material, or whatever, and stick to that.
TR has had one of the biggest industrial sites for many years, but because of the nature of their business very few sites linked to theirs. Competitors won't link to them for obvious reasons and advertisers won't becasue they don't want users from their site to go to TR where they will be shown ads listings for other companies.
What is TR left to do? Create sites that link to themselves! And a brilliant job they have done. I for one thinks this shows that Google needs to tweak their systems a little.