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One of our competitors has somehow spammed our full company name into the Google index like this:

http://www.competitorwebsite.example/our-full-company-name/

When we visit the link, though, it goes to a "not found" page. Attempting the view the cached page from Google results in a 404.

The net result of this is that they are the 3rd organic result when our company name is searched. It appears they have a method for stuffing the index with our company name for their own benefit.

How did they do this, how do we prove it is intentional and deliberate, and is there anything that can be done to stop it?

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    The Google cache returning a 404 doesn't indicate anything nefarious. The Google cache is having problems right now and we are getting tons of questions about why webmasters get 404 errors for their sites in the Google cache. – Stephen Ostermiller Sep 28 '18 at 18:13
  • If you visit the URL on your competitor's website, do they actually have a page? What does it say? – Stephen Ostermiller Sep 28 '18 at 18:15
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    @StephenOstermiller It goes to the website's own "not found" page. – Timothy B. Sep 28 '18 at 19:13
  • The link that leads you to the 'not found' page is from the search result? – Yousef Al-Hadhrami Sep 29 '18 at 1:09
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    if it's a 404 page not found header, then they probably of created a page with content earlier in the past and requested Google to crawler the pages/website so that it gets indexed in the search result, and after it got indexed, they changed the content to 404 not found page, check something called crawling frequency, so it will either get removed automatically when Google recrawls the site again or if you do it manually using the outdated content removal tool. – Yousef Al-Hadhrami Sep 29 '18 at 19:30
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Read the section regarding Legal Removal Requests, after you read it to see under which category your issue relates to, if so then go down and press Submit a Legal Request, it will take you through a wizard, where you can justify who, where and what's the reason. After maybe like 2 business days (sometimes more) you will get a response from Google stating if any what actions they performed regarding your request.

If you don't have the legal rights to remove it, all you can do is increase the SEO of your website so that you appear before your competitor on the search results.

As for the 'not found' 404 pages that they used using your company name that appears in the search, use the content removal tool to remove outdated content, otherwise, it will be removed automatically when Google crawler indexes your competitor site again (crawling frequency depends on how famous or important your competitor site is, it might take 1-30 days)

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