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Competitor steals our meta descriptions.

...now they rank above us AND have pushed our pages of the 1st page.



9:30 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Here's a quicky:

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?


4:23 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

imo it may be a good idea to check the actual content of each page where you suspect they are copying your description. Also the url and the title. Is the meta description the only element being copied?

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.


6:44 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Its a dog eat dog world on the net.

That is a typical SEO stratagy undertaken by someone wanting their site higher than yours.

The solution?

Write a better page than theirs.

welcome to the game...


9:44 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Look who's linking to them and get a link too...even try and replace them!

On second thought - Just write better linkbait.


9:56 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Competitor steals meta description..
It's not stealing unless it's illegal, but i say,

If you can't beat them join them.

"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.


10:07 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

>Meta description on its own is a small contributor.

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.



11:57 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jdmorgan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

This happened to a business I'd done some work for. A C&D from their lawyer put a stop to it, and the person who did the copying became a "former" employee of the other company on whose site the copied material had appeared.

Before you think about copying their stuff in retaliation, consider your own legal situation if the roles were reversed...



11:13 am on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi guys,

Thanks for the advice. I spoke to our competitor who reluctantly agreed to alter their meta tags, albeit slightly.

We'll have to wait and see what result that has.

Will post back when/if anything improves.



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