Spam Reports, SEO, & Focusing on One Shady Competitor

Jun 4th

Today I got a phone call and about a half dozen different emails about the same issue. Many people see someone else in a great market position in the search results which they deem to be using risky or shady techniques.

All sites will randomly mix about from time to time, but focusing on one specific shady site does not really do much to build longterm value for your own sites.

Should you pattern your actions after what one shady site is doing right now? There is no correct answer, but here are the justifications why

yes:

If you can use throw away domains then why not take risks with a few of them. Even if your sites get banned in some search engines you still get to learn about the SEO process and search algorithms by trying to create a few different aggressive test sites.

If you have an exceptionally strong brand and are spending millions of dollars per month on AdWords ads you likely have a bit more leeway than average Joe webmaster. Even if you are risky make sure you are relevant and do not take risks you can't afford to take.

no:

Search algorithms continuously change. If something looks overtly shady and many people are doing it then likely it is a hole which search engineers would like to plug soon. If you are trying to create a longterm business with real tangible longterm value then it is best not to pattern your actions after sites using aggressive shady techniques.

Only take the best pieces of their marketing mix and look for the best marketing pieces of other top ranked sites. From there look to create partnerships, tools, ideas, and market positions which are not easy for others to duplicate.

Published: June 4, 2005

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