Is Reporting Your Competition A Viable SEO Technique Worth Considering?


For the last couple days everyone has been in an uproar about JCPenney’s shady SEO practices and the manual ranking penalty Google placed on them. This public outing by the NY Times brings up a lot of valid questions that are being discussed in the SEO world. This includes the value in reporting your competition, how Google will respond and if your sites overall authority plays a roll in the severity of the penalty.


Is There SEO Value In Reporting Websites?

I will be the first to admit that I think reporting your competition or any other websites using shady SEO techniques is a waste of time. I do think that in a perfect world Google would review all reports but Matt Cutts himself sums it up best. "There are 200 million domain names and a mere 24,000 employees at Google." With that said why would they dedicate resources for a website spamming themselves to the top of the search engines for a local keyword phrase such as “Minnesota House Painting”? That time could arguably be better used on the mega spammers such as JCPenney’s or the content farm aggregator Mahalo.

Would JCPenney been ‘outed’ if I created a blog post analyzing their poor SEO choices? Nope. Had it made a difference if I filed a report against them directly to Google? I don’t believe so either. My reasoning, I have no authority. I truly believe that action was taken against JCPenney because the NY Times pointed out their SEO. It would have been a blatant slap in the face to Google users if Google ignored this public outing.

I personally will continue to spend my time creating new content and building natural links. If you think it’s worth ratting out your competition then give Jill Whalen’s new form a shot. Jill is a powerhouse in the SEO industry and if any single person can get Google’s attention it’s probably her. In fact, take a look at a Tweet Matt Cutts blasted out yesterday in regards to spam reports.




Are All Google Punishments Equal?

This has been an issue that has driven me insane over the years. Everyone has heard of the stories where the mom and pop shop over pays a shady SEO company for them to only get their site banned from Google. Sure the SEO company get’s fired but they already have the money and the mom and pop shop are left with not only a lighter wallet but a nearly worthless domain. No matter how many attempts to file a reinclusion request after fixing the ugly SEO performed it simply bounces off deaf ears. The mom and pop shop decide that it’s best to buy a new domain and start over again. Now what about JCPenney’s or even BMW (Who was removed from the index in 2006). BMW’s ban was short lived as they removed their shady JavaScript redirects and made the appropriate communication efforts with the Google web spam team.

Now why is it that BMW can be added back to the index within a couple days and the mom and pop website will forever live out the life long ban? It absolutely has to be the authority of the two websites. Google wouldn’t look good if someone types in BMW and it doesn’t return the BMW website. If someone was to look for the mom and pop website and doesn’t find the result it doesn’t make Google look as bad. Google religiously lives out the notion that they want to give their users the best search options on the web. I would argue that not being able to find the mom and pop site takes away from the user experience. In comparison it doesn’t make the same mass effect as BMW not being displayed but it still shows a lack in quality.


Because of this I will make the bold prediction that JCPenneys will be back in the index shortly and even ranking successfully shortly after.

JCPenney is a household name that holds the same level of authority that BMW has. If JCPenney is truly making the effort to remove their spammy SEO techniques as they say they are I don’t see Google maintaining the ban for long. It’s really too bad that you have to be a multi million or billion dollar company to get this type of treatment. While the rich continue to get richer the small mom and pop store will be building their new site from scratch. You beter just chalk it up as another growing pain...


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