By: Chris Bennett

Using Social Networking Sites to Poach Your Competitors Rankings

August 16, 2007

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If you haven’t realized already Social Sites that allow for “Search Engine Friendly” Urls have a relatively easy time ranking in Google. This is due to Google’s over trusting nature on old and large sites. It is true that Google lets old sites get a way with Murder while new sites can’t steal a stick of gum. Don’t believe me? Start to watch how many times Wikipedia, Technorati and Squidoo show up in your every day search results. If you know how to leverage these sites you can get some pretty good rankings in a short amount of time for decent keywords. This method is nothing new in fact it has been overly exploited to the use of Social Media Squatting. Just like buying domains that have your competitors names or products in them you can register those pages at social media sites. I own a squidoo page for one of my old competitors names, I have never done anything with it and never will as we are in different leagues now and I don’t care, but the fact of the matter is I own their name on a large social site. I could rank that page for their brand name and have it filled with all of my companies information. But I digress, social squatting is not the point of this post.

The point is if you notice someone leveraging a social site to rank for a word that you are actively seeking you can poach the work that they have done to rank that page and sneak in right underneath them utilizing Google’s indented rank feature.

If there is a social site ranking in the top 20 for your keyword phrase, go and create a profile on that site with a slightly different URL and similar title tags. Then optimize the text to coincide with the keyword phrase and throw some good links to the page. If you do it right you will see the page show up as an indented rank just below your competitors already existing page.

For example go to Google and Type in Online Reputation Management you will see a squidoo lens on the second page. This used to be on the first page, but it is being re-done and they have lost their title tag and it is now on the second. Social Poach
I know because our site 97th Floor ranks for Reputation Management words and I have been watching. The lens is labeled with the URL of /onlinereputationmanagement, so when they created their profile they chose their URL to be the main keyword without any spaces. What you would want to do is create your lens and choose your URL to say the same thing but with dashes. If that is taken then say the same with dashes and add a number or something else to make it slightly different like, /online-reputation-management-1 or /reputation-management-online. Then create your profile talking about your services or company linking it to your site and then publish it. Then link to it from your site, your blog or anywhere you can get some good links and you will see it jump through the hoops to an indent rank just below the existing site.

Now if you know what you are doing and don’t mind getting into a little battle you can optimize your social profile better then the first ranked page by passing more authority links to it with varied anchor text and you can replace that pages rank. If you are really good you can actually optimize your profile so well that it will separate you and the indent rank pushing the indent rank to the second page while keeping you on the first. At SMX Seattle one of the best takeaways from the Give it Up Session was explaining,

“Stephan Spencer has 7 tips in 7 minutes:
Secret #1 – Grouped results: Google groups results from the same site together. To find the true position of an indented (grouped) result, you can add a &num=9 to the domain search to see if indented listing drops off.”

This explains that the indented group result is not really the next in line it is most likely number 9 or 8 and Google chooses to move it up next to the other result since it is from the same domain in order to simplify their results.

So you can use that knowledge to steal your competitors rank by creating the profile, grabbing the group indent result, optimizing better and then pushing them to the second page.

This can also be done on Directories or any site that allows for business profiles. If you see a large site with a profile page of one of your competitors ranking you can most likely take advantage of that.

Written by Chris Bennett on August 16, 2007

Chris Bennett is the Founder and CEO of 97th Floor. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him below.

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