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    How to / Should you "Grass Up" Competitors to G?


    Hi everyone!

    I have a very close competitor who I recently did a backlink study on.

    What I found was that they are:
    * placing DO-follow links in the footer of every client website they touch
    * these all link back to their homepage
    * all using the SAME exact match anchor text keyword(s)
    * Even using cloaking in some instances (ie making the link invisible to users/site owners but not search engines)

    This all seems very "dark-dark-dark grey hat" to me....
    So, my question is this - what would you do?

    Shop them to Google? If so, how?

    or...

    Copy their tactics? They are currently outranking my site and getting page one rankings despite generating less original content (presumably through this linking practice)

    or....

    Do nothing and hope G catches up with them eventually?

    I've not been in this situation before so would appreciate any advice / input.

    Thanks!
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    They have a page where you can report the pages. Just search "google report spam links" the page is the top result for me.
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    IMHO, NEVER follow the dark pathway of SEO. G knows it is there and is so far ahead of us mere mortals in detecting it.

    Sooner or later black-hat tactics get killed and users likely need to rebuild their sites on new domains to escape G's wrath.

    The only Google no-no you report is cloaking. I'd report that but don't expect a fast response.

    There are squillions of footer links on websites. G has already evolved to largely ignore them.

    Before blaming black-hat SEO for your competitor's success, I'd be more closely exploring my own website and why it may have problems ranking higher.
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    I’ve been struggling with this for months!

    All the people competing for my keyword (“[My City] SEO”) use sitewide footer links on all their clients’ sites. For the past six months I’ve been working on building good links to my site: I guest posted on a prominent website, reached out to reporters and websites. Got some nice links, but I couldn’t compete with the volume my competitors had.


    My assumption was that the competing SEOs would get penalized, until I saw this video from Matt Cutts, where he makes it sound like the algorithm doesn’t penalize sitewide links, it just diminishes their value (and manual action only penalizes REALLY spammy links, apparently?)


    So, I’m guessing sitewide links for SEOs on their clients’ websites is fine, because Google thinks a link saying, “SEO Powered by [SEO Company]” is useful or whatever. And it looks to me like most SEO agencies use these links, to the point that they’re almost necessary to compete for SEO agency terms.

    I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this.

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