Well, the issue of whether or not search marketers report their competition to Google if their competitors are practicing gray or blackhat tactics has shed a new light on the issue, or on the difference between some SEO blogs and our audiences.
Search Engine Roundtable has published the results of a poll asking if SEO’s report the sneaky work that their competition is doing to Google. According to Barry’s results, 70% of respondents do not report their competitors.
But when Search Engine Journal asked our readers a very similar question, the majority left comments that they do report their competitors to Google.
Wow, let’s look at both discussions 🙂
Do You Report Your SEO Competitors to Google?“Of the 159 responses, 111 respondents or 70% said no, they do not report competitors to Google. 45 respondents or 28% said they do report competitors to Google. While three of those votes were for “other” but was actually left blank.”
Earlier in the month Ann Smarty also asked a similar question here at Search Engine Journal : Do You Report Your Competitors to Google?
Ann’s question led to over 20 comments from some of the top SEO’s on this matter, who were quite transparent in their responses :
- Jaan Kanellis : “If they spam and they are my competitor, then I report.”
- The Mad Hat : If they spam and are my competitor, then I report…as long as I’m not spamming too. Then I leave it alone.
- Mercy : “In my personal opinion, I try to outrange my competitor in all part of game. So If i do find my competitor doing any black or greyish technique to rank better than me, I would surely report it to Google.”
- CrimsonGirl : “whether you also engage in tactics such as buying links is besides the point. I buy links in certain situations. Again, that is part of the job. I expect competitors report me just as I report them….The formal reporting of purchased links through Google webmaster tools (the other search engines don’t have anything analogous) is just one way and a relatively recent avenue for reporting competitors. Years ago there were snail mail letters to Google’s president (and Yahoo’s president and Microsoft’s president). Email to search engine engineers. Email and snail mail letters to other webmasters who link to your competitors requesting them to remove the link.”
- Dev Basu : “For my personal sites, yes, I kill on sight as well. However, it comes down to corporate ethics when you’re trying to make that call as an inhouse seo, or as an agency representing a client.”
- Mark Lee : “Any Seo technique is used to manipulate Googles rating of your website. Is there truthfully a point where you can draw a line between what is acceptable or not. Google doesnt even give out this information, so the only innocent parties are those that dont use search engines.”
- SEO Canada : “I personally haven’t reported any of my competitors, but I have reported clients competitors.”
- Rob Scott : ” I have reported sites that are outrageously in breach: doing things I would never dream of. If I find someone is outranking me doing something that is in the old shady grey area, then I’ll consider doing it myself.”
So, very different responses in these groups of readers and respondants. This could be for various reasons, one being that Barry’s traffic is a little more widespread than SEJ; bringing in the SEO forum crowd and Search Engine Land readers into the conversation. Then again, Ann’s story hit Sphinn and attracted a lot of attention.
The big difference here may be the anonymous poll vs. more transparent comments and conversation. Anyway, its interesting to look into the responses from both sources.
Goes to Show, Not Every Search Blog is the Same
Sometimes I get asked at conferences or by colleagues, how come the SEO or search blogs cover the same news. Well for the most part, we cover different forms of news and when we do cover the same breaking search news stories and announcements, we do so in a different way.
Danny, Barry, Ann, myself and others all write in a different manner, have different thoughts and reference different stories and sources. We also all have our own passions in the industry, and I think this is reflected in our different writing styles and audience participation.
Furthermore, we all enjoy tens of thousands of RSS subscribers, and although there is a lot of overflow or overlapping of these readers, I’m sure there is a significant amount of SEJ readers who may not read Barry everyday, and vice versa.