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Google Ranking - Engine Ranking Wars

how to get someone off google permanently so you get more traffic

     
7:44 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It's quite clear from reading this forum alone,
that's it's quite easy and very possible to
knock someone of the rankings who are competition.
In effect Search Engine Ranking attacks!
It's also clear, that google just have no policies regarding
this, and if someone is given a low rank, they clearly
couldn't do anything about it. Google are now so powerful, I think this is a very worrying situation.
Has anyone else had loss of ranking that could be attributed to an Attack, by a competitor or for some other reason?

Google Penalize URL's on Spam Reporting Sites?


A site of mine has just disappeared off the scope (from page 2 to page 102).
..... It has been there for some time with no major changes (just info, pricing updates, etc.).
[ GrinninGordon ]

Google Bomb Attack?


We also got a couple of sites banned due to a competitor signing a ton of guestbooks and listing these few sites with them to
eventually get us eliminated from their index.

[ trueMarketing ]


7:52 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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> Has anyone else had loss of ranking that could be attributed to an Attack, by a competitor or for some other reason?

Certainly. I've often found problems that could be attributed to such things, but with hindsight I'm pretty sure that they weren't.

Personally, I think that people who spend their time worrying about how to remove the sites listed above them would be better off working on their own sites. More, good content tends to win long term.

7:57 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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One word -- KARMA.

Don't be evil.

7:59 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Personally, I think that people who spend their time worrying about how to remove the sites listed above them would be better off working on their own sites. More, good content tends to win long term.

I think you've missed the point, the two people above, were clearly minding their own business, working hard on their sites. [ GrinninGordon ] [ trueMarketing ]

But, that's the point, you can be minding your own business, and somebody decides to attack because your the competition,
and they want more traffic. Right now, it just occurs to me, that someone could, and you couldn't do *anything* about it!

So advice like "don't be evil" is not on, the above peope are not evil and minding their own business. It's about defence.

very worrying I find.

8:09 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So how do you become vulnerable to an attack like this? Is having a guestbook or other way for others to post on your site the only way? Or if someone just submits my site a couple dozen times, can that get me considered a spammer?
8:10 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've never seen ANY proof that a competitor signing guest books with your url can get you in trouble. I'd like to see some real hard evidence other than "I lost some rankings and then found my url in lots of guestbooks". When it comes to Google, A plus B does not equal C.

>>the two people above, were clearly minding their own business

he wasn't talking about those people. He was talking about the folks that spend more time trying to torpedo their competition rather than work on their own sites.

8:11 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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imho if it's a buisness issue, don't rely your dollars on something you can't control: google. sorry to say, but if you can't take the risk, then it's not google who is to blame.
i think they state something like this in their terms...
8:14 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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as much as we think we have the google system cracked and know every loop-hole, unfortunately that aint the case.

its very easy to blame Google, or competitors, however as the saying goes:

"people in glasshouses should NOT throw stones"

Shak

8:17 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm with oilman and ciml on this one. When I look att sites that complain about things that their competitors have done to them, I usually find a half dozen spam tactics on their site within minutes. Often without even looking at the source code.

The only legitamate claim against guestbooks was that "similar pages" cam back with all guestbooks as a theme when too many of them were signed.

Too high of a percentage of your links coming from a guestbook will only be used as an indicator to look for more problems.

8:19 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My understanding is that 'bad' links to you do not lead to any penalties for you, UNLESS you linked back. As far as i am aware google make it near impossible for anyone to wage war on the competition - if im wrong please explain.

I am aware that it used to be possible to improve someones ranking for an undesirable phrase by linking to them with that phrase as the link text, but im sure i read somewhere that now that only counts if the phrase is on your site.

8:23 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Anybody got any thoughts on this....

Site A (Your site) - 3 years old, 200 links in. PR6 Old project you no longer care about.

Site B (Your competitor)- 2 years old, 150 links in. PR6 Very profitable and stealing your business from....

Site C (Your main site)

So, you duplicate your competitors site on your old site A. Google sees duplicate content and drops the less established site... your competitors.

Possible?

8:23 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We can't begin to even imagine that Google rankings have anything to do with email spam, else people would report their competitors for sending them spam mail just to take them out.

Taken from the first thread you quoted. Written by Marcia. (the guy thought his competitor was emailing google about email spam)

Sums the situation up nicely I think.

Nick

8:29 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think this is still a bit of a myth subtle knife.

The logical way to think about this is, could google penalize blahblah.com because its competitors have placed a bunch of links to it through a specific anchor text (the google bomb you suggest)? The answer is no. That would be too easy. I would (sorry, *cough*, 'could') kill all of my competition in a jiffy.

The only way for a competitor to induce such an penalty is to get a link *from* blahblah.com to a bad place. And yes, if you have a guestbook that gets indexed by google, someone could put a bad link on your page. Is this reason to panic? No. Why? General consensus around here is that a penalty isn't likely unless you have a *disproportionate* number of links going out towards bad neighborhoods. More bad than good = bad.

you could always moderate your guestbook.. or perhaps a simple noindex/nofollow?

There are no logical circumstances other that that described above for a competitor to put your domain in jeopardy.

[edited by: Fiver at 8:33 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2003]

8:29 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So, you duplicate your competitors site on your old site A. Google sees duplicate content and drops the less established site... your competitors.

Google can tell the CONTENT was on site B first. It is the duplicate CONTENT that causes the problem. I could find out for you which content was up first so I'm guessing Google could too.

8:32 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So, you duplicate your competitors site on your old site A. Google sees duplicate content and drops the less established site... your competitors.

Possible?

Not possible because Google's policy on which site to keep in this instance depends entirely on which site was indexed first. That is the 'owner' of the content in google's eye.

8:44 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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There really are a lot of ways that you can hurt your competitor's site. Most of them require creativity and a lot of money.

Here's an example. You can sponsor most of the sites that link to your competitor. As part of the sponsorship deal they have to drop the links to your competitor.

But signing guestbooks won't do it for you.

8:47 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Actually, a client of mine was the victim of an attack. Their site (site A) was top 10 for over a year. Their competitor had a site (site b)higher pr and then copied the exact code from site A. Google saw the duplicate content and removed the site A. Once Google ranked site B high, the competitor changed their code to hide the theft.
This attack was easily documented by looking at Google's cache for the site B. Thhe cache showed an exact copy of site A. My client's site was destroyed and still hasn't recovered. They reported the problem to Google but with no assistance.
These attacked do happen and they can destroy businesses.
8:54 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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http*//www.geocities.com/spamtheengines/
8:58 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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allanp73

that situation's news to me.

but are you saying your friend's site was hit with a penalty? Because there are certainly a lot more factors involved with ranking than the content of the page... even if you steal the best content out there.

I can duplicate cnn.com's code, but it wont help me, nor hurt them...

got any more details?

--
*disclaimer: no, I don't think cnn's content is the best out there*

edited for spellos.. perhaps not all.

8:59 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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and stealing your business from....

"Stealing"?

Uhm live with it - it's an open marketplace, and it is called competition.

The internet has replaced telemarketers for places to sell stuff that nobody needs, and affiliates are the new form of MLM's.

9:36 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Fiver, what allanp73 describes seems possible. Common wisdom is that in the case of duplicate content pages, Google will drop the one with the lower PageRank. In most cases this works well, since the older "established" site has higher PR than the new "rip off" site. But in the scenario he's describing, the duplicate site has the higher PageRank.

It's probably not that common an occurence; for one thing because it means turning a high PR site into something less directly useful for some period of time.

It also shouldn't be that hard to recover from, as long as the "attacked" site retains the links that got them their PR in the first place -- they should get crawled again, once the duplicated pages have been changed back "to hide the theft" as allanp73 put it.

So I'd ask... how long ago did this happen? Has the site been spidered since then?

10:24 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Common wisdom is that in the case of duplicate content pages, Google will drop the one with the lower PageRank

This is counter to what I've picked up around the forums in the past. Not that I'd dismiss it just because of that, but it does seem less logical than google choosing the content they had indexed first as being the 'original' content.

ahh here it is: [webmasterworld.com ]

not a googleguy confirmation, but a close second ;)

10:40 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hmm... Perhaps "common wisdom" was putting it too strongly. But there seem to be plenty of comments here saying that the highest PR is what matters in dealing with identical content on two different sites... for example: [webmasterworld.com...]

The post linked to above, Fiver, is in response to your question about duplicate pages within a domain or within the same site. I don't know whether that changes the answer; just pointing out that it wasn't exactly the same question.

12:25 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi Fiver,

It happened as I said. By using the higher pr they were able to effectively remove another site from Google. The old site (site A) has returned to Google but it's ranking has been destroyed, where as the thief site b is top ranked.
When Google sees duplicate sites, it removes th one with the lower pr. This is why you couldn't get rid of CNN since they are pr9 and your site is probably much less than that. However, if you had a pr10 site then you could say bye-bye to CNN.

This is a real weakness Google's filter and it makes these types of attacks possible.

12:28 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

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JayC,

It happened few months ago. Both sites are on Google, now but with very different rankings. The attack worked.

1:03 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've been wondering what the voting buttons on the google bar are for.

If a competitior clicks on the "vote against this page" button while browsing a competitors site, does google downgrade that page. What else can the buttons be for. Bit worrying if that is the case.
Totally anarchy on the web as everyone votes against everyone elses sites.

What are they really for?

1:22 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Why shall we always talk about "Wars"?
can't people live their lifes trying to be better professionals instead of looking for the way to rip "the competitors" and organize "wars"?
aren't we able to live in harmnoy?
(i'm sorry, just a thought finishing a sad day...)

[edited by: Digimon at 1:35 am (utc) on Mar. 4, 2003]

1:27 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

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voting buttons are intended to give google feedback, on how useful the results are. Google have clearly stated votes are NOT used to adjust a particular site's rank, for precisely the reason you stated. Of course if you find results from competitors who have acheived their ranking by spamming, then voting against may hurt them, as google continue the fight against spam.
2:03 am on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The way I see it is that it's kind of like golf. You're not really playing against other people, more against yourself and the course. Obviously after 18 miserable holes where you've played less well against yourself and the course than everyone else did it can seem otherwise but I digress.

There could be multiple reasons why the two examples Subtle Knife cited suffered, possibly maybe including "sabotage", but I think CIML hit the nail on the head when he said

people who spend their time worrying about how to remove the sites listed above them would be better off working on their own sites.
It is extremely valid to question why your site is not fairly ranked (i.e. number 1 thru 30 for every relevant search all the time on every engine!), perhaps the process will lead to identifying ways that you can improve the sites. A more constructive approach might be "what steps can i take to lessen the impact of a drop in search traffic, however caused, from a particular engine" rather than "how to get someone off google permanently so you get more traffic."

I agree that it is a concern that you could lose good ranking with no direct redress, but am mindful that I've never spent a nickel with Google for a regular listing and that they are under no obligation to provide me with same.

You are always at liberty to attempt to remedy the situation by building good content and seeking alternative means of attracting visitors (like those discussed at [webmasterworld.com...] or the excellent [webmasterworld.com...] ) until such time as the inherent quality of your site is recognised as fairly as you would like it to be!

It is hard to avoid developing a reliance on Google but 90% of business from 10% of clients has always been a bad idea, offline and on.

3:13 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The post linked to above, Fiver, is in response to your question about duplicate pages within a domain or within the same site. I don't know whether that changes the answer; just pointing out that it wasn't exactly the same question.

I think I was just posing the framework for the question, and taking for granted that google would not do what you guys are saying they're doing :) .. I'm still not convinced they really are though.

But this _is_ interesting.. in the end though I don't see how it really applies to the real world... Any ranking that isn't really quite specific would be attained through a variety of metrics, on-site content being just one of them.

I see the point about a higher PR page with dup content outranking another one (when I think about a well-distributed How-To, or FAQ for instance), but I don't really understand what one could steal.. other than, perhaps, traffic through a brand-name keyword or something.

I couldn't steal the rank Joe-Shoes (PR 5) has for 'shoes' with fivers-shoes (pr6) just by stealing their content. The rank comes from much more than that.

I'm sure I could, however, steal the rank Joes-Shoe-Emporium (pr 5) has for 'joes shoe emporium' by putting their code on my PR 6, because there is nothing to judge the ranking on other than on-page criterion and the site's PR.

This is what I mean by not real world. But of course, there is likely some traffic there, even if not from competitive keywords, so it may be worth chasing. People want traffic for different things after all.

--

By using the higher pr they were able to effectively remove another site from Google.

ok, did they mirror the index, or every sub page of this site? Because I don't really know what you mean by 'remove' another site. They lost a ranking for a specific phrase? The site is no longer in the index? They had a notable PR drop?

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