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I run a website that's been around for about three years in the sports space. I am successfully ranking well for targeted keywords, but searching for the name of my site itself returns very poor results - it shows my site, its FB/Twitter, and then 15 pages of unrelated spam that happen to contain two words that, when combined, form my website's name. After that, my backlinks begin to show up spordically.

As far as I can tell, I simply don't have enough backlinks and the backlinks I do have are ranked worse than the spam. (Site Explorer lists 200 external links to any page on our domain and 20 external links directly to the front page).

To counter this, my strategy is to promote my backlinks so they get a better page rank than the spam. Does that make sense? Am I going in the right direction or should I just focus on getting more backlinks pointing directly to my site?

Thanks in advance and I'd be happy to answer any questions I can (without giving away my site of course).

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3 Answers 3

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I came across a similar issue when I noticed that having spent all of my time building links and reputation around my business name (ArcticLlama Freelance Writing) that I didn't rank anywhere for my actual name (Brian Nelson -- see brianenelson.com).

I built a second website and linked to it a lot from my business site with the anchor text of my name. That was all it took to at least show up in the rankings. (It's a common name, there is no need to rank #1. If someone is looking for Brian Nelson the writer, they'll find me as long as I'm somewhere in the first page or two. -- After that, I took some time and built some other links. At last check I was #11 for just Brian Nelson and #2 for Brian Nelson writer, which is pretty good since the #1 page is for a screenwriter on IMDB.com)

Since you are trying to rank for your own site name, a second website doesn't make sense, however a few tweaks on your own website might be enough to get ranked "good enough" for your own website name.

Assuming your site design allows for it, change the link to your home page (which is typically labeled "Home") to the name of your website. If not, add a link in your sidebar or footer that links to your website with the name of your site. Doing so gives you hundreds (or thousands) of backlinks to your website with the name as the anchor text. While all of those links will come from your own domain, and thus not count the same as more varied links, it will probably be enough to push your site up for its own name past many of the sites that now accidentally outrank you.

Secondly, be sure that your site's name shows up in the Title tag of each page even if it is at the end, and even if it is past whatever magic character count people say Google limits to. After link counting, nothing matters more to Google than what is in the title tag. A title tag like "New Amazing Sports Stuff - The Sports Website" can do wonders.

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Don't waste your time trying to boost websites that aren't yours. Instead, focus on getting more backlinks from sites with higher reputation.

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You've stated that you already rank first for your own name - why would you want to promote other peoples' sites if you're already ranked first for your own name and for targeted terms?

Users who search on your name can already find your site (I'll bet that users searching on your site's name are using their search toolbar instead of the address bar in their browser - they're probably not first-time visitors who might mistakenly click on spammy search results) and users who search on targeted terms can already find your site - congratulations, sounds like a job well done.

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That's a good point. Thanks. My concern is that the results page looks awful and we look disreputable - the backlinks are few but good quality and it would be nice to have them appear next to our name. –  user4394 Jan 6 '11 at 7:46
    
@user4394 - A few press releases and articles written by you (about what you're doing at your site, perhaps) should be sufficient to push the spam off the first page of results and add some more backlinks to your site, aye? –  danlefree Jan 6 '11 at 8:17
    
I don't have press releases, but I could probably have some things written. Thanks for the suggestions. –  user4394 Jan 6 '11 at 10:23
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