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He is even threatening to contact Google and ask them to remove me from the listings (haha).
He says, the reason he is angry is because my blog is not related to that particular search term, but his site is. Therefore he thinks I should not be above him.
I would be keen to hear how you guys would have dealt with this guy?
[edited by: tedster at 7:09 pm (utc) on Dec. 9, 2006]
Say, the relevant search term was new york first aid(its not - its an example)... then he had registered his business as New York First Aid Pty Ltd, and registered new-york-first-aid.com
My client's site was set up to rank for the term new york first aid, so had that phrase as the site title, keyowrds, description, hs, plus reference on the home page.
He sued, for misuse of his business name, my client won, on the basis he had tried to tie up use of a very generic phrase, with a company name. You might as well try regitering a company
I like big butts pty ltd and then try and stop people using that phrase.
My advice, is to take him seriously, advise him you believe you are doing nothing legally wrong, and nothing against googles TOS, and that he should seek legal advice is he wishes to pursue the matter.
Then I'd give anything to see what sort of deranged letters he sends to Google about how a non-existent employee is boosing his brother's sites in the SERPs.
If he thinks complaining to Google will get you kicked out, he is sure to believe that someone's brother can tweak the results.
By the way, does his site have any "problems" that might get him in trouble? I can be a real SOB if someone threatens me.
I would take him seriously, but from the standpoint of, 'He probably can't do anything, no matter how loud he yells…'.
Google ranks the site it sees as matching the criteria best suiting a visitors needs and regularly adjusts it's rules to provide what it determines to be 'more relevant results'.
If no one can guarantee and deliver a number one listing (if you can please, sticky me the secret formula), it seems tough to argue you can somehow be responsible legally for another entities (Google's) interpretation (ranking) of your information.
I think you can bug overly controlling people like that the most by simply not giving them the attention they crave. Plus you can also save yourself a lot of time.
[edited by: Jane_Doe at 7:52 pm (utc) on Dec. 10, 2006]
Did you do anything proactively to get your site to rank highly for irrelevant keywords?
Do you WANT your site to rank highly for irrelevant keywords? How is this helping your site?
If you really want to rankle the guy, you can respond and tell him that you'd have made a request to Google YOURSELF if he'd have been nicer about it.
If you are sure that your laundry is clean (but I am having my doubts here...) then perhaps you should proactively forward his email to Google, so that they will know that he has made a threat and will treat any correspondence from him accordingly.
Blogs are funny things and the blogosphere even more so.
It is possible to wind up having decent ranks for all sorts of things that a single focus website wouldn't.
Including things just mentioned in passing within a post, this is especially true if the site that isn't ranking that thinks it should is out to lunch on various things SEO in nature.
I made a blog post about going to check out a new gym in my town, and I wasn't very impressed. It ranks #1 for the name of the gym (above the gym itself) and is now ranking for [city gym] and [city health club].
I'm not trying to rank for those terms. I'm not trying to hurt anyones business, I just blogged about my day. When I realized that I was #1 for those terms, I went back and modified my post so it was much clearer that I was looking for something specific for me, and that my requirements aren't necessarily those of your average suburbanite family.
Now, you might say that I don't deserve the #1 spot because it is just one blog post and my site is not about the subject, but the website for the new gym is only 2 pages and contains less useful information than my one post. They do not even have their hours on their site, but I mention them on mine.
I've also had my blog posts show up at #1 for several local government entities at one point or another. It just happens.
If there is relevant material on the site - regardless of what it's focus is - then that's a different story. It shouldn't matter what the site is about. What matters is that it contains useful material relevant to the search, and the search engine has landed the user on the relevant material.
If that's not the case, then the search engine hasn't done a good job.
If blogs are ranking highly for subjects that are not their focus when they happen to go outside of their main area, that's actually a bit reassuring. It means the search engines are finding relevant material in dark corners of the web.
So, if somebody who normally blogs, say, about Perl one day signs up for a new gym and has an unhappy-enough experience to blog about it - it's a good bet you are seeing unfiltered honest consumer experience - a very useful thing to find when making a purchasing decision.
Of course, if this is the strategy du jour for the search engines, you can bet that tomorrow it will be abused by hoardes, and they will have to find anyother way to filter out the BS.
The poster is not saying that it is unrelated, it is the other guy.
I remember a discussion a few years back where someone in the travel industry was upset that "irrelevant" sites such as museums and such were coming up on a search for a city name.
Lots of people think that their version of relevant for a search should be the only version. The way I see it is this guy is upset that ANYONE ranks above him and is trying to blame everyone but himself. Even if the blog is not relevant, he is showing ignorance and bad for by how he handles it.
As for the original question, I'd ignore the email. Of course I'd save it, and maybe even do a casual investigation of the complainer and his website. But I really don't see any percentage in responding to the sorehead in any way.
In my neck of the woods there is a history of a few well heeled neurotics using lawyers as attack dogs and threatening to sic them onto their opposition for all sorts of imagined slights.
The last thing you want is to find yourself in the middle of a lawyers picnic because of some ill chosen words or actions.