Sales & Support 1-888-220-7361

J.C. Penny, Forbes, and now Overstock – all suffering severe drops in search results because they had breached Google’s terms of service. While Google will have you believe they are on top of things, these large corporations suffered their search penalties because someone either reported their activities to Google, or because they create a big news story which caused Google to act.

It raises a question – would you report your competitor for breaching Google’s terms of service? I am sure there are thousands, if not millions, of online businesses that are frustrated because they cannot climb above their competitors in Google search. There’s the obvious way out – transfer your SEO efforts to closely investigating your competitors then reporting them to Google. I can see Google slowly sinking under the weight of reports if this situation occurred.

While a lot has been said about reporting competitors, we should compare the situation to that of offline businesses. What would you do if a competitor was gaining an unfair advantage due to illegal or immoral actions? Would you report them to authorities? The business community has done so for decades. While buying links, for example, is not illegal, it does run contrary to Google’s policies and those that do engage in this activity should be aware of the risks.

So what does the short-term future hold? Will the next growth area in SEO be an extreme form of competitive intelligence, who’s only aim is to find dirt on competitors? There is a real danger in this tactic. If you have been online for several years, can you remember what you did at the very beginning? Before digging up dirt on your competitors to gain an advantage, make sure you’re squeaky clean first. It could come back to bite you! Of course, with the three big scalps mentioned at the start of this post, it could be just the tall poppy syndrome at work.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>