Optimizing for your competitors company name


Pilfering through Google Analytics

So yesterday I was doing my thing, going through my GA reports @ 100 MPH when my mouse wheel came to a screeching halt (well maybe not screeching).   Usually when reviewing my keyword analysis I skip right over all the keywords that match or partially match my company name.  Today I took a closer look at that group of keywords and couldn't believe how much traffic was coming through those terms.  Currently, I rank #1 for the most popular term in my market and I am between 1 and 5 for the next 14 most popular (volume).  It turns out that I am getting more traffic for people typing my company name than some of the most trafficked (is that a word) keyword terms in my market.  Immediately, I run reports for 4 other web properties I manage and find the same to be true in each case.  Next thing I do is go to Google and enter my own company name and the names of my competitors each time respectfully and find NO competing companies in the result set sometimes 3 to 4 pages deep.  I have to think that my competitors in my market are experiencing similar results.

My Theory

My theory as to why this is, is that the keyword terms that match or partially match the company name is coming from buyers researching yard signs.  Yard signs represent the 3rd biggest source of buyer leads in real estate (15%) where the internet represents the 2nd largest source of buyer leads at 24%.  Why wouldn't this be the reason for users typing company names directly in to Google?

How to Capitalize

With this being said, why wouldn't I optimize for my competitor's company name?  If my competitor is getting the same results, why shouldn't I at least try to direct some of that my way?  I would not mind capturing some of my competitors 15%.  With our MLS, I can display my competitor's listings under our IDX agreement and Code of Ethics as well as provide some relevant (non-slanderous) information about the competing company. The content would be useful, timely, relevant and in no way considered spam.  I am doing the buyer a huge service by offering buyer representation completely independent of the listing company.

Please Chime In

I looked everywhere to see if there was someone else doing this and didn't see anything.  I saw similar examples in other industries where it almost looked "black-hat".  In this case I consider it more than ethical and could be quite productive if done properly.  If you see anything wrong  with this idea please PM or comment right here.

Source of Buyers


Lou Lynch
Associate Broker / Technology Director

Lou Lynch is an Ulster County real estate advisor and local area expert providing stellar home buyer and seller services in the Hudson Valley region of Upstate New York.


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Indy Realtor

Lou - I was actually just thinking about this yesterday. I already see some hits for other companies from my REW IDX, but thought I could try to capitilize on it more. I am very interested to see others responses, but I don't see any problem with what you are suggesting. How are thinking about incoporating it into your site??


I will PM you with the specifics


You might be okay with the MLS, but double check with the DOL. I would specifically recommend staying clear optimizing any title tags for your competitor's company name. Also, consider what your opinion would be if someone was optimizing for your company name? I wouldn't do it, but that is a personal choice.


Thanks Ryan. I will check with my licensing authority. Your feedback is helpful.


I commented in the forum too. There is a fine line to walk when mentioning your competitors’ company name in any publication.


Agreed . . . hopefully this post will flush out exactly where that line is. Ryan please understand, I don't want to do anything unethical. In fact I think this is idea more ethical than not. Buyers calling on yard signs and winding up with an agent from the listing office will never be as well represented as if they had representation from another company. I am not trying to trick them into thinking that I am the competitor. Thanks for the comments, please stick around

Morgan Carey

Honestly, if you did it right, one would actually think that your competitors would THANK YOU for helping get their listings more exposure. Think about it - would they rather it was another agent (Fully authorized to display and sell their listing) or Realtor.com or some other firm that charges the agents (On both side) for the right to transact?


@Marin - How unprofessional of me, the source of the pie chart was the 2006 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reprinted with permission by Prudential Real Estate Affiliates. @Morgan. DIdn't think of it like that but I agree totally.

Annie Maloney

Hey Lou, Blogs like this that are controversial would do great in a platform like DIGG. Especially if you have a good amount of comments that vehemently argue points for each side. Could be some great link bait.....


Shoot me a PM too loudog!


OK Jim, it is on its way!


Wish I had time to do some research, but I swear this was brought up on REW forums before and I believe the consensus was that it wasn't well accepted. Of course, I believe that the original poster had this done to him and was extremely angry about it and wanted to know his rights. I also believe that in this case the "offender" was using competitor names in their title tags, descriptions, etc. Possibly some hidden text? I can't remember if it was actual agent names (I think it was) or company names. Might have been both. Of course, the company or agent would have to be savvy enough to catch this but I do wonder if someone got angry if they could do something about it.


I've never seen that "Source of Buyer Leads" pie-chart before. Do you know the chart source and any additional details (i.e. data source, date, etc). Pretty cool stuff.


Thanks for the feedback guys. @Judy if you come across those posts please let me know


I tried doing a search on the forums but nothing came up. I don't know what search terms to use - the logical term I used brought up a non-related thread.

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