Q and A: Is it legal for my competitor to use my business name in AdWords ads?

QuestionHi Kalena

I took your Google Analytics 1 day course last year through the Institute of IT Professionals (and loved it)!

I’ve been getting a few curly questions from our members (physiotherapist business owners) that I don’t know the answer to so I was seeking your help. Here’s one that I had from one of our members, just on the off chance that it’s a super easy one to answer! If not I will continue on my googling quest to find the answer.

He says “I’m a physio business owner and a competitor is using my actual business name in their Adwords – not in the keyword search terms but the actual ad. IS this illegal and can I make them take it down?”

Kalena, from my research through Adwords policies it looks as if the answer is no, this is not illegal. Using a trademarked term “Gmail” in your ads is illegal – but I couldn’t find any mention of just using a business name.

Appreciate any insight you might have! And will hopefully see you at another course this year.

Thanks
Claire

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Hi Claire

I do remember you, lovely to hear from you.

It just so happens that I researched this very topic not too long ago :-)  It all started with a question submitted to my blog: Can competitors use my company name in their AdWords ads?

After some more research, I ended up writing a more detailed article about it for SiteProNews: Making Sense of Trademarks in AdWords.

The short answer is that it depends on the region of the advertiser. Google may also have changed their policy since publication of that article, so make sure you check for the latest policy wording.

Hope this helps!

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Google Targets Article Marketing, Guest Blogging & Press Releases in Link Scheme Definition Update

article-marketing-newIf you don’t pay regular attention to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, you might have overlooked it, but last month, Google made a significant change to their definition of link schemes.

The revised link scheme wording now cites the following as violating Google’s guidelines:

  •     Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.
  •     Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank.
  •     Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.

Google also removed these examples from the link scheme guidelines:

  •     Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank.
  •     Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence.

The changes are important in SEO circles, because article marketing, guest blog posts, advertorials and press release syndication are often key components of holistic SEO campaigns. Note in particular that “links with optimized anchor text” are mentioned specifically for the first time. Until fairly recently, the use of anchor text was considered a standard component of effective article writing and any on-page optimization.

With these changes, article syndication and press release optimization – unless implemented extremely carefully – may end up having a negative SEO impact on the very web sites they were intended to help.

In the wake of the changes, we took our Search Engine College Article Marketing course offline temporarily to check lesson content against the new guidelines and re-write any sections that may have been ambiguous.

If your SEO strategy uses any of these initiatives, I suggest taking a very close look at the revised Google Webmaster Guidelines and ensuring your implementation adheres to the revised policy.

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Q and A: How do I report a competitor’s spamming to Google?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I have just started up an SEO company in Bangkok called Search Sense Thailand and have my first real break. Yesterday I got a new job to work on a real estate agent’s website, with a brief to get them onto the first page of Google for Bangkok Property.

But there’s one site, position #2, that has duplicated six websites, all linking to one another and using keyword spam on all their domain names. And I cannot compete with it! Why does Google weigh the domain name so heavily? Why does it allow duplicate content, from the same owner to dominate their search? This is just plain wrong. I would like some help on this, please. How can I get Google to take any notice?

Pun

Dear Pun,

Out of curiosity I checked Google and did a search for “Bangkok Property” and did not notice the issue you are stating above. This is not surprising, as Google often shows different results for different users.

However, to answer your question. If you would like to report spammy activity to Google you can use the link below. If I were you I would concentrate on all of the good whitehat tactics that you no-doubt employee, and try to beat him that way. By collecting good quality, relevant links, and filling the site with useful relevant content you can eventually beat him.

http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html

Best of luck, Nick Loeser

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Q and A: What program can I use to check search positions for my site?

QuestionHi Kalena

Can you recommend a service that will give me a monthly report on page positions for my website based on keywords. I have been using Submitnet.net, but they recently changed their program and no longer give me what I need.

Thanks
Robbi

Dear Robbi

Web Position is probably the best choice for running monthly search ranking reports. They have a free trial. BUT you should be aware that some of the functions performed by this tool (e.g. automatic submissions and search rank querying) are discouraged by Google in their Webmaster Guidelines.

Other tools you might find useful for SEO and SEM are listed here and here.

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