What should I do if my competitors are using webspam techniques?

Today's question comes from HoodRiver, where lisawilliams wants to know, "White hat searchmarketers read and follow Google guidelines.

What should they tell clientswhose competitors use black hat techniques such as doorwaypages and whom continue to rank as a result ofthose techniques?" So first and foremost, I wouldsay do a spam report.

Because if you're violatingGoogle's guidelines in terms of cloaking or sneaky JavaScriptredirects, buying links, doorway pages, keywordstuffing, all those kinds of things, we do wantto know about it.

So you can do a spam report.

That's private.

You can also stop by Google'sWebmaster forum, and that's more public.

But you can do a spamreport there.

You can sort of say, hey,I saw this content.

It seems like it's rankinghigher than it should be ranking.

Here's a real business, and it'sbeing outranked by this spammer, those kindsof things.

There are people who keep aneye on that forum, not just Google employees,but also sort of superusers or bionic posters.

And they can also passthose reports on.

So there are a lot of differentways to report specific incidents of spam.

The other thing that I wouldsay is if you look at the history of which businesseshave done well over time, you'll find the sorts of sitesand the sorts of businesses that are built to standthe test of time.

If someone is using a techniquethat is a gimmick or something that's like the SEOfad of the day, that's a little less likely toreally work well a few years from now.

So a lot of the times, you'llsee people just chasing after, OK, I'm going to use guestbooks, or I'm going to use link wheels or whatever.

And then they find, oh, thatstopped working as well.

And sometimes it's becauseof broad algorithmic changes like Panda.

Sometimes it's because ofspecific web spam targeted algorithms.

But it can also bethe case that we can crack down on even large companies.

If you go back and look at theNew York Times articles about JC Penney or Overstock, we'rewilling to take action on anything that we considerto be a violation of our guidelines.

So my short answer is go aheadand do a spam report.

You can also report it in theforums.

But it's definitely the case that if you're takingthose higher risks, that can come back and bite you.

And that can have amaterial impact.

So I would recommend that peopleavoid going with the black hat techniques.

And we're happy to hear, we'rehappy to get feedback either at conferences, on Twitter,online, blogs, forums, if you're seeing sites that areprospering and are using black hat techniques.

Now, it's possible that theyhave some low-quality links, and there are some links thatpeople aren't aware of that we see that are actuallyhigh quality.

But we're happy toget spam reports.

We're happy to dig into them.

And then we'll try to findeither new algorithms to try to rank the things moreappropriately in the future.

Or we're certainly willing totake manual action on spam if it's egregious or if it violatesour guidelines.

We have a manual web spam teamthat is willing to respond to those spam reports.

So thanks very much.

Source: Youtube