Rat Out Your Competitor
[January 2015 update below]
Jill Whalen, noted Boston SEO guru, was conducting an experiment to see if Google actually cares about how websites cheat to get to the top of their search results. Her guess is that they don’t, or they would have done something about it a long time ago. To test it, she suggested you rat out your competitor and watch what happens.
How to rat out your competitor to Google
You can participate in that experiment. If you have competitors who are beating you out in search engine results through spammy, deceptive, or unethical SEO practices,
go to the website for Rat Out Your Competitor. Let them know what your competitor is doing, and they’ll look into it and report it directly to Google.
[Thanks to Dean Voss for pointing out in the comments below that RatOutYourCompetitor.com is no longer what it once was. A better way currently is to rat out your competitor’s webspam directly to Google via their Webspam Reporting Tool.]
[Update 2023] I’ve had the occasion to do this a few times in the intervening years and find that it does work, but sometimes only temporarily if the Google addresses the problem and then soon afterward the offender puts the spammy technique back in play.
For example, a competitor of one of our clients was keyword stuffing their company name in their Google Business Profile. I alerted Google to that behavior and Google corrected it promptly, reverting their name back to their real name without the added keywords. Unfortunately, that competitor soon noticed the change and changed it back. We’ve gone around on this three or four times; each time Google fixed their company name, the offender put it back within a few weeks. So this may take a little patience and repeated action before Google makes it permanent.
How about you?