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Analyzing a rising competitor in Google

5:54 pm on Sep 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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During this last update/shuffle/whatever, one of my competitors moved up significantly for nearly every phrase I've been tracking. They've moved ahead of me on some, and moved ahead of some sites that were solidly #3 or so.

In looking at what they've been doing, two things jump out at me immediately: freshness and links.

I spoke with the manager of this business last year, and congratulated him on his rising rankings. He muttered something about putting up stuff every day, then changed the subject. I thought of this comment yesterday and did an advanced search using the site: operator. When I selected results from the last 24 hours, I found that they're uploading 30-50 modified pages every day. I've kept archive versions of pages, and I find that the pages are modified only slightly. For example, they have a special offer for a blue widget one day, and a special offer for a red widget the next.

I've always been of the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mindset, and so have not altered pages that rank well unless it's necessary.

I'm looking at other factors that may or may not be helping them, but this one has me wondering.

I'd be curious to know what others here think about my possibly flawed mindset and what my competitor is doing.
9:27 pm on Sept 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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One thing I've noticed repeatedly when a competitor takes over the top spot when their site doesn't warrant that position, it is usually because they have a network of sites (for instance--multiple furniture sites but each one focusing on a different type of furniture). They usually all have links back to the main site with site wide links (when you do that almost every link has good PageRank, vs site-wides in a directory are usually zero PR). However, although this is manipulating Google's search engine, I haven't seen much evidence that Google is putting a stop to it.
9:49 pm on Sept 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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It's not that I don't think their site merits the ranking they get. It's just that I wonder if they're getting any kind of boost from making changes to 30-50 different pages on their site every day. From the conversation I had with their manager, it sounded like that was part of their SEO strategy.
3:21 am on Sept 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'd say it is possibly part of the reason - but it needs support from something more unless the query is not very competitive.

I should qualify that comment. I haven't tested regular page changes in a long while because it just seemed silly as well as disruptive for regular visitors. So it doesn't matter to me if it gives a small edge in Google or not.
5:30 am on Sept 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Well this update is really weird. Last week for a "major city business sector search" #2 was switch to a company thats never ranked in the top 50, and this week #2 was switch to another company that never ranked in the top 50 and doesnt even have the major city name listed on their webpage even though they service that city. #1 has not switched at all, they seem to be throwing random websites into #2 every few days, sites that have very few backlinks and 0 recent backlinks and 0 really strong high quality backlinks. These are websites that don't SEO.

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