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My competitor made a title change and Google loves him for it

     
10:17 am on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



A section of my site offers widgets for sale, with the word widgets replaced by the product name of course, and I rank very well for these pages which visitors appreciate by leaving lots of comments etc.

A competitor of mine also has these widgets for sale and our titles were virtually identical for the longest time in this section of our respective sites. My site, being older and slightly more popular, always ranked just ahead of his/hers and in some cases his pages were not returned in the top 10 at all, possibly since we had the same titles, I can't be sure.

The change: He/She added the word 'every' in front of all of their titles. The result is 'every widget for sale'. Although this hasn't shaken up our rankings, or even the order in which we rank, it has impacted my CTR a little.

A user is apparently more likely to click on 'Every Widget For Sale' over just 'Widget For Sale' and on the pages he/she didn't rank before we are both represented. Apparently if your titles are duplicate to other sites pages there is a chance you don't outrank them which can remove you from page 1 in serps completely, regardless of actual rank, but that's another subject.

How would I begin to fight back for my CTR against 'Every' ?
4:14 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



That was a pretty clever move on their part, I'd say. A quick glance makes it sounds like "Every Widget ON Sale" - not just "for" sale. Plus, as you mentioned, it disambiguates their title from yours and that apparently helps them compete on Google.

It sounds like you need a business issue brainstorm, more than pure SEO advice. I assume your titles are dynamically generated, correct? That would be a kind of restriction on what you can do.

I think I'd print out the SERPs from a lot of queries and study them intensively for a while - see what ideas pop up. But as long as you're outranking that competitor, I would do anything too drastic.
6:08 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Maybe this thread's title should be "...and searchers love him for it":)
7:13 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



I'd suggest that you've learned something here. Perhaps they just got lucky. You however, can realize that there's something there that can bring in money. So test the heck out of it until you dominate. They've identified the opportunity for you.
8:05 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Options: Page titles are not dynamic, I can change them at will or make them dynamic, nothing is impossible so...

- Do nothing, worry about my own, enjoy the rank advantage.
- Change titles to include the word 'every' or some other choice word, creating a cat and mouse blocking sort of game.
- Create an entirely new set of updated pages and go for the multiple results in serps, possibly blocking him/her for his words at the same time.

Maybe this thread's title should be "...and searchers love him for it":)


Nah, I think Google loves him for it too. Almost overnight a lot of his pages now rank. I could test that by changing one or two to match his and see if I knock him out of the serps. I'm not inclined to play games like that with this particular site however, there's no telling when you may anger the beast(google).

I'm going to consider option #3 above the best I have so far since I could add even more useful content and interlink it all, other ideas most welcome though. Share them if you've got em!
11:53 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Possibly experimenting with every's synonyms might get you similar/better results?

Every's synonyms: any, bar none, barring no one, complete, each and every, entire, every bit of, every single, sum, total, totality, whole, absolute, all-out, comprehensive, consummate, downright, entire, full, full-blown, full-scale, gross, inclusive, integral, out-and-out, outright, overall, perfect, plenary, positive, sheer, sweeping, thoroughgoing, totalitarian, unconditional, undisputed, undivided, unlimited, unmitigated, unqualified, unreserved, unrestricted, utter, whole; more at the source below.

Source: http://thesaurus.com/browse/every [thesaurus.com]
6:50 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I don't think Google likes the new title. I think more people clicked on "every" because its a better headline. Google through its browser, toolbar and Android, picked up on that and increased his/her ranking.
7:28 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)



Have to say that was a nice move, as someone already mentioned though Google does not love him it's the visitors IMO.
If you are already getting first page results, all you need is to attract the Users attention better than him/her. So you already have "widgets for Sale" you can add to your title the lowest priced widget. So something like "Widgets for Sale From !".

I think you are too concerned with what Google "likes" when sometimes you have to be concerned with what the Visitor likes. You just need to ask yourself which link would you click on?
At this moment in time I would chose "Every widget for Sale" because I'm gaining more info already, I know all of his/her widgets are on Sale so I automatically think I'm getting a better deal!
8:33 am on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



I think you are too concerned with what Google "likes" when sometimes you have to be concerned with what the Visitor likes.


I'm reverse concerned if you will because it's working for him. I want my visitors to know exactly what they are about to see before they visit which is why I picked my titles and I'm sorry but my competitor does not show 'every' of anything :)

I'm really leaning towards a one-two punch right now. An entire second set of related pages, each with an expanded title, all interlinked with the original should produce Google 'double' results with the 'more from this site' link.

Exact match title + enticing title should be enough to put a hurting on the tactic, and take up a little more page one real estate.

The hard part is going to be finding the 'more' to offer on these pages and then setting up the internal link structure to keep them from cannibalizing the first pages entirely or not showing up at all... and not diluting the strength of the original.

hmm, another option - buy him out! :)
3:50 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Forget about trying to create new pages just for SEO sake. You will be wandering into Panda territory.

Just work on making your existing page's blurb that shows in serps better if you think there is room for improvement.
9:39 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Just wondering if only a keyword change in the page title can have such a drastic effect on ranking? surely G algo is more sophisticated than that?
10:09 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



"All" comes before "Every" -- give it a shot...
10:34 am on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



The CTR drop is the almost inevitable result of his action. Before, there were two identical page titles, and your were higher. Thus, you got the click.

Now, there are two non-identical titles, and so there is less reason NOT to click on your competitor- which is logically if not semantically equivalent to "more reason to click" on him.

The specific word "Every" might give him an additional positive impact, but that can be negated by adding a synonym on yours- I like tangor's "All". Alternatively, you can see his everyman word, and raise it with a more distinguished "Best"
9:56 pm on Jul 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I would do some testing by adding the word "Every" into my meta descriptions... like, instead of "widgets for sale" in the description field, change it "Click here to view Every Widget for Sale".

Always worth testing, right?
7:04 am on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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How about putting "#1 widgets for sale" in title tag, just to make the title eye catching and more clickable? is this too spammy or worth a try?
7:32 am on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



All" comes before "Every" -- give it a shot...

Stating 'All' or 'Every' in your title or on your site can cause trouble if you don't really have all or every widget.
It depends on legislation.
7:39 am on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Google 'double' results with the 'more from this site' link.
...
take up a little more page one real estate.
...
going to be finding the 'more' to offer on these pages


Did you try to get photos and videos of your widgets ranked?
10:14 am on Jul 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Stating 'All' or 'Every' in your title or on your site can cause trouble if you don't really have all or every widget.
It depends on legislation.

If all on the site are for sale, then there's no problem... don't go looking for one if there isn't one to be found...
8:52 am on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



"All" comes before "Every" -- give it a shot...


I tried a couple of things...

I picked 2 pages in which I show "most" and stretched it to "all" by placing it in the title. My "all" ranks just ahead of his/her "every" still and the rest of the title is the same.

Result: the rankings didn't improve or decline but my CTR is back on both pages! It took a bit over a day for Google to update the page but the difference was instant afterwards.

I also tried two pages with the word "every" and both fell to page two a day later. Google really doesn't seem to like displaying several web pages with the same title on the same results page in the serps.

I'm going to halt making changes to titles right there though, it's not worth the risk of running afoul of some unknown algo metric.
3:33 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



She's distinguished her page by focusing on breadth of selection, which is a sound strategy. You could try to replicate what she has done or you can find some other way to distinguish yourself.

- Quality widgets for sale
- Premium widgets for sale
- Widgets for sale - made in the USA
- Widgets for sale - free shipping
- Widgets for sale - choose from 57 colors

There are lots of ways to beat selection in a searcher's list of triggers.
5:26 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I have in the past noticed a distinct difference in search volume, rankings, clickthroughs and sales for the phrases

widgets for sale

widget sales

The differences can be significant depending on the particular "widget" and target demographic.

Might give you something else to play around with...
10:03 pm on Jul 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



The OP was discussing organic search. Relating to product feeds, this spammy mod to page titles will not work if your ever want to submit your product feed to Google's Merchant Center.

Boilerplate text may can't be included in your product data. Any text related to shopping or store policies is not allowed. Repeated violations will get you banned.

Source: Google Product Search Policies
3:12 am on Jul 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



I made an assumption that Google didn't like showing multiple results with the same title, as mentioned a few posts up, but after further review I retract that. If two sites are all about the exact titles they are showing Google will show more than one.

My competitor who jumped the rankings with the words All and Every must be deemed all about those words since they are on every page and there is very little other content on them. I'd bet my bottom dollar that his/her GWT account shows those words extremely prominently in importance.

They aren't important to my site so I tried something else. I picked a word Google has associated to my site rather highly and appended it to my title on a few test pages. Voila - I dominate the competitors variance with mine and rank ahead of him/her on these test pages.

While my word isn't as yummy to visitors as "every" it is getting a CTR roughly 5% higher than without the word, in part due to the rank increase. That GWT list of important keywords is golden.

If you are inclined to write an article about widget guides but have never used the word guides on your site you're just not going to gain any benefit with that word in your title, at least until you prove your site is about guides too. Working within your Google-defined important keywords seems to provide best results in the short term, stretching the list is a good idea for the long term.

My site has 2 keywords that are 75% more important than any other keyword and I suspect that makes it hard to rank for things not related to them. More testing...
5:35 am on Jul 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@ Sgt_Kickaxe:

Thanks for the update. You brought up something that i just wanted to expand upon (although I can't say whether it is truly related or not).


My competitor who jumped the rankings with the words All and Every must be deemed all about those words since they are on every page and there is very little other content on them. I'd bet my bottom dollar that his/her GWT account shows those words extremely prominently in importance.


I mentioned this in a thread I started about a week ago. A competitor who dominates for a couple of keywords has the words /widgets/ and the word /dingbats/ in the URL of every product and category page. Even if the products or categories are not related to widgets or dingbats.

And he ranks first for the keywords widgets and dingbats, Despite not being very well optimized for SEO through on page text.

Unless GWT tales account for words that appear in the URL, I don't know if GWT would say these words were the most prominent on his site, either.
 

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