Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cybersquatting - Using SEO to gain the upper hand

Imagine the situation.... a cybersquatted domain appears in the Seach Engine Results Pages (SERP's) for your brand, but below your own site... which hopefully appears near the top.

Its not just annoying though, its still potentially damaging your brand and quite possibly making the cyber squatter money. This is because most cyber quatters tend to have affiliate links in their sites off to similar / competitive products & brands and therefore make commission from click-through sales. If the squatter can hold onto the domain for a while and even push their site up the rankings, they can potentially make quite a lot!

However, because Google and other search engines change their indexing algorithm all the time, there is no guarantee that your URL will stay above that of the squatters for any length of time. Also... there is also a very real possibility that if this person (or company) has gone as far as squatting on your domain, then they won't be restricted to entirely ethical means to improve their rankings.

As a quick explanation of what is ethical (also known as 'white hat') and unethical (AKA 'black hat') SEO activity, take a look at the diagram below:

Q: So what can you do about this?

A: Well its always easier to take preventative SEO action than trying to remedy the situation later on (and when the damage is done). This means devising an SEO plan as early as you can and setting up some above-board organic search optimisation activity. This should help your URL continue to claim its rightful place above cyber squatters.
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