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Q: Search Engines ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Search Engines
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: pvteye-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 30 Sep 2003 19:32 PDT
Expires: 30 Oct 2003 18:32 PST
Question ID: 261744
When I run a search on any search engine for my trademark my
competitor site appears in the results.  I have been told that the
term only appears in links pointing to this page.  I also ran links to
the competitors website page and my trademark and again only my
competitor's site is displayed.  I am seeking why my trademark makes
my competitor appear in search engine results.

Request for Question Clarification by mvguy-ga on 30 Sep 2003 20:13 PDT
If you would accept a general explanation of why that might happen,
another Researcher or I could do that. But if you'd like an
explanation for your trademark specifically, please let us know what
your trademark is.  Please understand that without your trademark we
can only make an educated guess as to what the problem is.  Thanks!

Clarification of Question by pvteye-ga on 01 Oct 2003 02:05 PDT
My trademark is "Kessler International" the name of my investigative
firm. The website of the competitor does not appear to contain the
trademark in any of their source code.  I recently had a problem where
a competitor paid search engines to have thier firm ranked higher than
mine, but that does not appear on the surface to be the case this
time.  I have searched the competitors website for links to thier site
(which is very close to mine) and did not find any links that perhaps
were thought to be for us but directed to their site. Another unusual
event is that I also found that the competitors mirror site also
appears when I run the search and that domain is not close to mine.

Request for Question Clarification by mvguy-ga on 01 Oct 2003 05:55 PDT
I've run your trademark on three search engines, and I haven't seen
any competitors on the first three pages. Am I missing something
(which is very easily possible), or is your competitor showing up
further down in the list?  Thanks.

Clarification of Question by pvteye-ga on 01 Oct 2003 07:54 PDT
On Google the competitor shows up at about number 70.
Subject: Re: Search Engines
Answered By: mvguy-ga on 01 Oct 2003 10:17 PDT
Thank you for providing the information that will help me provide a
good answer to your question.

The answer is fairly simple and has to do with the way that Google and
some other search engines work. As you probably already know, one way
that Google determines how to rank a site is to look at how many other
sites link to it. But it's actually more complicated than that. First
of all, here's Google's explanation of how Google works:

Our Search: Google Technology

Google doesn't publicly provide much more detail than that, although
you can read a research paper that went into the development of Google
and provides more information about the search algorithm (which has
changed in many details since Google was launched):

The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

Note these particular sentence in the Google explanation:

"So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching
techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your
search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a
page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content
of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your

What does that mean?  It means that Google can looks at numerous
aspects of a page to determine what sites are relevant.  And all
indications are (like I said, Google doesn't go into public detail,
and we Researchers are independent contracts without inside
information) that one of the factors that are considered are the words
on the page, even the words that don't make links.

What effect does that have?  Basically, it means that if you search
for the term, say, "widgets," that you will receive pages in your
search results that don't have the word "widgets." That can happen
because pages that do have the word "widgets" link to the pages that
show up when you search.

Here's a prime example I was able to find.  When I did a Google search
for the word "programming," the first page that showed up didn't have
the word "programming" in it!

Here's the search:

Search term: programming

The first page that showed up for me (results can change very quickly,
so your results might be different) was the Sun Java home page.  If
you look over the page, the word "programming" is not to be found. 
But as you might guess, numerous pages with the word "programming" do
link to it, enough for the page to show up first.

A little humorous note:  About a year ago, it was discovered that if
you used the search term "go to hell" in Google, the first page on the
list didn't have that rude phrase in it -- it was instead the home
page of Microsoft! Apparently there were enough pages that had the
words "Microsoft" and "go to hell" that they skewed the search
results.  (This search no longer yields the same result.)

Here are some articles on this incident:

Google Search Leads to Gates of 'Hell',aid,105320,00.asp

"Go to hell, Microsoft, AOL!" says Google

Microsoft Escapes From Google 'Hell',aid,105579,00.asp

So it would appear that the same reason that one of your competitors
shows up when searching for your name is that there are some pages
around the Internet that have both of your names.  I don't know who
your competitor is, but here are some pages that link to your site and
have the name of at least one of your competitors:

The Intellectual Property Commercial Zone


Fighting Fraud and Corruption

Investigative Services

Intellectual Property Links

Corporate Investigators

Patents, Trade Secrets and Technology Transfer

Private Investigators/Detectives

Private Investigators

Forensic Consultants

You can find who links to you with this search:

Google term used:

Like I said, I don't know which of those pages include links to the
competitor you're concerned about, but it wouldn't take many, maybe
even one or two "quality" pages, for the competitor's name to show up
when doing a search for you or your firm.

That the name of a competitor could show up when doing a search for
some business isn't that unusual. As an experiment, I did a search for
"All the Web," one of Google's competitors, to see if Google or any of
All the Web's competitors would show up.  Google didn't appear, but
here are the competitors that did turn up in the first 100 hits:, AltaVista, Yahoo, Excite and AOL Search.  None of them use
the phrase "all the web" on the pages that showed up with the search. 
(I chose All the Web because I thought that as a relatively new search
engine it might show up frequently in news articles along with names
of other search engines, and it is also a phrase that might be used in
articles that link to search engines.)

You can see by running the search for yourself:


So the bottom line is that the name of a competitor could turn up when
doing a search for your name without anything fishy going on.  It
happens, partly because the search engines are designed that way.

The good news for you, however, is that you seem to have good
placement in Google. Your site showed up first with the following
search term, which I suspect is one that people might use to find you:

international investigation

It also turned up high in some other searches using similar words
along with "forensic."

I hope you have found this answer useful.


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