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One of our competitors has recently started using our meta description on some of their pages e.g on their blue widgets page (we also sell blue widgets).
Google appears to only want to show either their blue widget page or ours on the first page (if they are on the first page, our page is at least 2 pages further down the SERPs and vice versa). This is, I presume, so that google aren't returning a page full of exactly the same results.
In some instances e.g. if their green widgets page comes up on the first page of the SERPs our site may also be on the first page...but only if its our dark-green widgets page or our small green widgets page...not our green widgets page.
Whilst we seem to win the battle in approximately 45 out 50 different searches it is rather annoying and doesn't seem right that they can hijack our meta tags and have us do worse as a result.
As we have a pretty good relationship with this competitor i plan to bring it up with their MD on monday who will more than likely change this (particually as it's doing them no favours either). I suspect this isn't the case for most people who may be affected by this.
Anyone got any advice/ideas as to why this is happening?
If so, by tweaking your pages more using the other elements I would suggest you will have more success in overtaking them in the serps. Meta description on its own is a small contributor.
Another variable that may not be so obvious is the linking text that is used by those 3rd party sites linking to your competitor. Perhaps your competitor has run a linking campaign that has used similar text-strings to the descriptions.
Lastly, if you are talking to their MD you could bolster your case by demonstrating duplicate content with the premium search Copyscape tool, which allows checking of text snippets.
"Steal" their keywords and content optimize that some more and go to ranking war! May the one with the longest breath/reserves win.
I wish you all the best.
Alternatively find some keywords they rank nr1 with and target those.
A side attack, when they're worrying about their lost territory, you'll have an opporunity to regain your lost territory.
Find the best strategy that suits you, be a general.
In Raking Yes, but duplicate Descriptions seem to be a big factor in triggering Diplicate Page issues.
I would suggest either tweaking the original descriptions to avoid duplication, or hit them with a DMCA notice, whichever is easier unless a principle is involved.
Before you think about copying their stuff in retaliation, consider your own legal situation if the roles were reversed...