Eric Wolfram's Writing, How To Score Higher in Google Search Engine -- more tricks and strategies

Google Directory Anomaly and the Competition Trick

Competition Trick -- Excellent Results
This is continued from my original article on ranking higher in google about how to increase traffic to your web site. These techniques below are helpful, but the fastest and easiest way to

The Competitive Branding Trick
What if someone searched the web for coke and pepsi -- and the RC cola site is returned as #1? That is what is happening to us. We wanted our brand to appear when people were searching Google for our competition. So we created a page that listed and linked to all of our competition, but instead of calling them competition -- we called it our list of software solutions for property management companies. This led to the discovery of some interesting Googlebot behavior.

In property management software, Yardi and AMSI are the big hitters and most recognizable brands. However, when you search Google for those two names, our software solutions for property management companies page is returned #1 as of October 22, 2002. Click on the link below to see that demonstrated right now.

yardi amsi

The Competition trick may have diminishing returns if every company started doing it. Right now, however, software providers in the property management space rarely mention each other. So as of Oct. 23, 2002, if you search for any two or more software listed on that Solutions page, my page appears #1. In some cases, searching specifically for a single brand will put our page in the top 10 on Google, as in:


Results -- As of December 20th, 2002
During the past five days, here are some of the search phrases (in bold) that people typed into a search engine right before landing on 8 or 9 people are actually searching for a competing brand, but they found our logo instead.

2: software hoa management -- general
2: price for yardi -- yardi is a competing brand
2: jenark -- jenark is a competing brand
1: yardi amsi -- this is probably from someone clicking on this link in this article
1: hoa management -- general
1: rental property software -- general
1: hoa management software -- general
1: property management open source software -- general
1: mri property management software price -- MRI is a competing brand
1: property management domino -- Domino is a competing brand
1: free work orders -- we offer free work orders
1: intranet multiple user property management software -- this describes us exactly
1: property management software php -- general
1: simple property management software -- general
1: peak property management -- competing brand

Why We Believe In Listing Our Competition
We are unable to prevent people from finding competition anyway, and a directory of property management software solutions is clearly published elsewhere. It's not going to help matters if I ignore the fact that the people surfing the Gnosio site are smart enough to find Gnosio's competition without my help.

When potential customers seriously surf on Gnosio, they are looking for solutions for property management -- that much we know. We are a new company -- offering one of many different solutions needed by our customers. We want to help people -- really help them. By honestly telling people that "our technology works with all of the following solutions" builds the trust it takes to allow prospects to become our customers.

Many people ask me to help them find a good strategy for better google ranking -- and I can't really promise instant results. One easy way to get started is ask me to look at the site and make a report with list of suggestions, a basic analysis and a first round of strategy suggestions. The report costs $950 which is a fee that is based on about 10 hours. The strategy might include an option where I offer to continue helping to implement the strategy. Getting started is easy, just send an email to with the URL of your site, some target keywords and a note saying that you agree to pay the $950 upon receipt of the report -- I'll have the report back within ten days. Does that sound like a good way to start or do you have other ideas about how we could work together?

Yes, I am still happy to look at your site specifically and speak with you frankly about the best and fastest ways to increase web traffic with my SEO and Google Adword Service. | tel. (646) 519-2451

One person asked, "Why don't you put Gnosio on top of your list of competition?" We want editorial integrity. And although we can replace some of those "solutions" in the list, we don't say that because we want to remain impartial. We want to help our potential clients make good choices.

One person said, "As soon as I saw your list, I knew that Gnosio would be the only company we would call."

Our industry is full of web sites that don't contain useful information. Sites that sometimes weigh-in heavy on the marketing hype -- you've seen them before -- sites that list only the benefits and none of the features. Sites that say "Call us for a quote" instead of admitting a price range. These sites to attempt to hold information hostage, to force people to call their sales department. I believe in saving people the time and trouble of doing so, if they choose not -- so I publish their prices for them. I believe in freedom of information.

We honestly publish information about our competition, which is not available on our competitor's own web sites -- pricing, number of employees, details about their technology and feature set. This makes us very unpopular at trade shows. At least we're on their radar. But we're popular with our customers.

People who first hear about the Competition Trick get really excited about doing this on their own site until they realize that they must link to their competition's web site -- that's the catch -- you have to acknowledge your competition from their own domain. Some people claim that this is too radical.

I disagree -- it's not radical at all. It's nothing new. It's a modern version of a competition matrix comparison graph, where features are listed in columns and different companies are listed along the bottom. You've probably seen these boxes with the check boxes showing which features are offered by which company. We think of our "software solutions for property management companies" page along the same vain.

So may our little company called Gnosio ultimately become known as experts in the industry of property management software -- which is exactly what we want. People have already contacted me to ask my opinion on the products of my "competitors."

Strange Google Behavior -- The Directory Mystery
For some reason, Googlebots were returning to our site every day but the Googlebots were only grabbing about half of our pages -- the same half.

Of course, we really wanted the Googlebot to index our "software solutions for property management companies" page. We waited and waited and Google simply wouldn't crawl to that page. We tried everything. We linked to it, we linked to it from other sites, we improved our robot.txt file. Google just ignored that page for some reason.

Upon closer inspection, our web logs showed us that the Googlebots did, in fact, return to our site every day. And the logs also showed that the Googlebots were only interested in the index files in each directory. The bots wouldn't surf to any other pages in those directories. The Googlebots only grabbed index pages even if we linked to pages with other names directly.

So I moved the software solutions for property management companies page, which was formerly /gnosio/business/solutions.adp . I put the page to /gnosio/solutions/index.adp

It worked! The next day, Googlebots grabbed our new "solutions" page today1. After seeing our web logs, a person who works at Google said "I think you're right about the Googlebots only picking up the index of each directories on your site." He continued, "It's very strange because no one I know at Google knows anything about this behavior. Furthermore, I don't know why the Googlebot is returning to your site every day to grab the same pages."

Hmmmmmm. we do know that the good people at Google are always working to improve their search engine. In any case, we are happy that the Googlebots finally grabbed our solutions.adp page. And we're very happy that our site already receives hits from people who are searching Google for our competition! Isn't THAT what every company wants!

Want to know more about scoring higher in Google? Read other tips from Eric Wolfram on How to Score Higher in the Google Search Engine.

1. Here are logs showing Googlebots only surfing to directory hits and not to the pages in the directories. These logs also documents the historical moment when the Googlebots first grabbed the software solutions for property management companies page:

access.log: - - [21/Oct/2002:01:30:49 -0700] "GET

/gnosio/facts/ HTTP/1.0" 200 3730 "" "Googlebot/2.1


access.log: - - [21/Oct/2002:01:32:29 -0700] "GET

/robots.txt HTTP/1.0" 200 638 "" "Googlebot/2.1


access.log: - - [21/Oct/2002:01:32:31 -0700] "GET

/gnosio/contact/ HTTP/1.0" 200 2949 "" "Googlebot/2.1


access.log: - - [21/Oct/2002:01:35:24 -0700] "GET

/gnosio/demo/ HTTP/1.0" 200 383 "" "Googlebot/2.1


access.log: - - [21/Oct/2002:01:46:59 -0700] "GET

/gnosio/support/ HTTP/1.0" 200 2465 "" "Googlebot/2.1


access.log: - - [21/Oct/2002:01:52:43 -0700] "GET

/gnosio/solutions/ HTTP/1.0" 200 21163 "" "Googlebot/2.1


access.log: - - [21/Oct/2002:01:59:15 -0700] "GET

/gnosio/about/ HTTP/1.0" 200 3461 "" "Googlebot/2.1


access.log: - - [21/Oct/2002:02:09:33 -0700] "GET /gnosio/

HTTP/1.0" 200 4109 "" "Googlebot/2.1


access.log: - - [21/Oct/2002:02:44:03 -0700] "GET

/gnosio/about/partners/ HTTP/1.0" 200 3444 "" "Googlebot/2.1


access.log.000: - - [20/Oct/2002:01:11:58 -0700] "GET

/robots.txt HTTP/1.0" 200 638 "" "Googlebot/2.1


access.log.000: - - [20/Oct/2002:01:12:00 -0700] "GET /

HTTP/1.0" 200 4100 "" "Googlebot/2.1


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