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Google Search Suggestion Hijack Story

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by s3rac, May 18, 2017.

  1. s3rac

    s3rac Newbie

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    Hi all,

    I want to share a recent experiment I commenced but didn't complete, however, the end goal was still achieved, albeit, 6/8 weeks longer than I think it would have taken if I'd have worked it as I intended.

    The Issue

    Here was the problem - A friend/client was having issues with a competitor leaving extremely malicious and well orchestrated, fake bad reviews as well as a variety of other nasty attacks on the personal character of one of the directors.

    He didn't ask me any questions about retaliating, as most in that situation tend to, so it wound me up a little more as it really wasn't justified. So, I looked into the guy responsible, and the company he's a director of and deduced that he's an absolute toe rag, and the business along with the other directors, are somewhat dubious to say the least. But hey, who am I to judge?

    I'm a live and let live sort of guy - Karma and all that! Unfortunately, after one too many shandy's and an hour or so of pulp fiction (which I was watching for the 1st time: Feb 2017 can you believe), Lawrence Fishburne inspired me to enact some type of justice on my friends behalf, as well as the experimental results from my actions of course.

    Retribution! Well, Not Really?

    So, here's what I did. It's by no means groundbreaking; it's not even worthy of discussion on any SEO forum in relation to the tactics at face value, but my intentions were a bit more complicated and the consequences of some basic aspects of what I did, much more convoluted than they appear.

    I posted a two blog posts on two sites I own with virtually no content. The posts themselves didn't even carry the keywords I wanted to rank for in the page title or URL, although,the sites themselves were related to, to some extent, the industry. The two post had two different statements in bold within the body text. Both sites had no rankings, were wordpress based with all in one/yoast

    The first blog had "find out what the problem with xyz company", and the other "find out what's the real financial position of xyz company". No links to my sites or the webpage with the statements, and no links out from these pages. Each site had only 1 link out which was to that xyz's company's website, but this was on another page (on each site). These links to xyz company's webpage were placed on a dedicated webpage on both my sites which contained the xyz company name which I made sure was already crawled. (I'm not certain the link to their site and the dedicated page had any effect at all though - I wish I hadn't done this in retrospect but that Lawrence Fishburne was very persuasive when he said " I Will Strike Down Upon Thee With Great Vengeance" and the Baileys I was now sipping always brings out the alpha male in me, so I wanted to make sure my cunning ploy worked)

    So, What Next?

    Nothing, that's it! That's all I did and they now show up on search suggestion when you type in specific phrases relating to that company!!! This was my only goal and both posts had nothing derogatory or could be deemed contravening any laws or regulations - They were more a play on words or a negative/positive type statement. The blog posts consisted of two sentences and both statements ended with "full details will follow very soon, please check back".

    That's it, nothing else. No links to the page, no associated social media and the phrases that were intended for search suggestion were only in bold in the blog content. The phrase wasn't in the meta description (which were both populated with protected from override with completely different content but they did feature the company name). I actually forgot about it until I noticed it one day in the Google Search Suggestion!

    My intentions were simply, and some of you will already know what my next course of action was going to be to try effect the ranking of my sites for their associated keyword (hence, the dedicated page), and, most importantly, the entry of these terms in Google search suggest in association with their related keywords.

    I was going to bring it to the attention of this company quoting the search term through one of their SM channels, probably, in the first instance without a link to the page , the site, or even the site name, in order to let them do their own searching! After a couple of days, I'd then send then the website name (but the site has no reference on the home page to the article, and the post is actually a page, not a post as such), so it doesn't appear on the blog page summary. I then let them start digging. they'd inevitable tell people themselves and the overwhelming way in which they would refer to both pages would be by the bold content and the site name (one of which is completely obscure to the point I can't even remember the sequence of letters in part of the URL). There would be a large burst in searches comparable with the amount of typical searches they usually receive and this obviously counts to Google.

    The searches are compounded due to intrigue the lack of information in the article, and the fact the content does not appear derogatory or with any intention of being so. When read fully and in context, the short statement can not be interpreted hostile and with the promise of more coming soon, people come back, from different devices, computers etc, meaning more searching using the terms.

    I did none of this though, I just intended to. So, WTF happened to get the terms in to Googles Search Suggestion around their KW's?

    My Conclusion

    They aren't a big company and they probably do a bit more ORM than most. My page dedicated to them was probably stumbled upon by them or an associate. They've had a look a the sitemap and seen the page with the long tail question bolded out. The rest they did completely by themselves as per above without any prodding or cajoling!

    The Moral

    If there's a shitty search result about you or your company.
    • Do not keep googling the search terms the result appears for to see where it currently ranks. Most people, inevitably, click on it for various reasons and;
    • Do not tell other people unless necessary, and, then show them a saved copy yourself. They will search using your description/what they already know about you, and they'll search more than once, probably with slightly different search parameters than you, which, further compounds the problem and they'll do this with no hesitation of clicking the result. This may seem contrived but its true, believe me. What you see, interpret and digest in the content and sentiment of an article about you personally, or your business, whether negative or positive, is different from what others remember/perceive in a lot of ways. Something which you pick up on in some obscure content online that references you, somewhere, at some point, even tenuously, may suddenly starts to gain momentum for the very keywords/phrases that specifically stuck in your craw about the content in the first place. And that's always that persons fault.
    • Do not keep going directly to the page in question, particularly from different IP's. You'll stay on it longer than most and you'll most likely be the top visitor. It's just not going to help!

    Most ORM clients with unfavorable search result issues have played a key role in their own problem in my experience.

    Signing Off

    I do go on a bit don't I? Reading it back through makes me want to delete bits but it's all relevant so I'll leave it be. It would be good to know what other people do to improve/alter search suggestions as the parameters this algorithm works to can't involve many factors IMHO!