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I'm faced with an aggressive competitor who thinks it's fine to just build a lot of crappy websites to take over the top of Google serps.
Actually I'm in position 1 and 2 (indented) and he's got the rest of the positions in the top ten with about 4 or 5 other 'brands' - but it's the same guy.
Now he's branching into exact-match domains for the serps as well. It's funny - the clients he lists are the other websites he owns.
What's my options?
I own some cracking exact matches but I was concerned if I started using them I would upset the competition lol and possibly be on thin ice if reported to the big G considering I already have "fair" exposure at the very top.
Do I take him on at his own game and force his websites down with some (slightly better) mini-sites, report him, or just put my dummy back in my mouth and get on with entrenching my brand, trust and authority at the top of Google.
To be honest, I wouldn't be bothered but with the love-hate relationship Google seems to have with exact match domains these days, I am wondering if I should get that bit more aggressive!
Edit - I could always just call him out on it on my blog lol.
Business is business I know - what would you do?
Yes, of course.
Do what he's doing but do it better.
Same "white hat" rules apply.
Better content, better links, etc.
entrench your "main" authority site as well.
Use your copywriting skills and a free white paper on the
"7 Things you must absolutely avoid when buying widgets"
and 5 of those 7 things should point to "flaws" about his sales process.
(or however that works in your niche)
There's more, but as you well know, in the next algo "tweak" Goog could just as easily move his sites to #1,2 and move you down.
So get to studying what he's doing that "works" and use the same tactics in a more Google-friendly way.
You'll be amazed at the simple white-hat techniques he's probably using to gain the whole front page of the SERPs in the process.
But until you are #1-2, and the competitor is #4 through 10, you get 90% of all traffic. Just keep monitoring those crappy sites and if they start to gather up a critical mass of inbounds, consider that the network might overpower you at some point.
Having some subdomains that support your main site pretty much the same way can only help in my opinion. Of course only if they're legit and can build their own backlink profile. Also, in the navigation you should treat them either as a spinoff or as part of the same site. ( one link from homepage vs. a link in the navigation ). This is your call though. I've been working with both, and never had a problem with either - on authority sites I might add.
Just keep monitoring those crappy sites and if they start to gather up a critical mass of inbounds, consider that the network might overpower you at some point.
Why wait for them to over-take you? Launch a strong link building campaign ASAP and focus on your major brand. Continue to add quality content to your site. If you decide to launch a bunch of new sites to push your competitor down just think of how much work it takes to get to the top spot and will you actually be able to do that with multiple sites. Getting a link to a well branded site is easier than on a new smaller niche site and what are the odds that you would get someone to link (I'm talking quality links) to both or all of your sites? It takes a lot of time and effort, do you have that much free time that you can take your eyes away from your established site while creating all these other sites?
You may also find that your already branded site will convert much better anyways (depending on how strong your brand is over competitors).