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Scroogled: The SEO Benefits of Bad-Mouthing a Competitor

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Scroogled: The SEO Benefits of Bad-Mouthing a Competitor was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

A couple weeks ago, Bing began running their “Scroogled” campaign in “an attempt to tell people not to get screwed over by Google this holiday shopping season”. Or in reality, a new way to draw attention to themselves by calling out their largest competitor.

While I’m not going to get into the merits of spending thousands of dollars on a hypocritical ad campaign, I will say this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a company do this and it certainly won’t be the last. So why not look at the positive side? Results!

When it comes to bad-mouthing competitors, one of the biggest benefits is the boost to your company’s SEO efforts through links & SERP real estate.

Links & Mentions

People love talking about controversy. It makes good news and don’t we all enjoy watching two giant companies battle it out? At the end of the day, controversy drives mentions and it drives links.

If we take a look at the Bing campaign, there are currently over 1,000 news stories listed in Google News and over 17,000 mentions on Twitter alone. The biggest thing to note is people are talking about the Scroogled campaign and Bing itself.

Scroogled Mentions

On top of that, many articles are featuring the video ad and even more are linking to the “Scroogled” microsite.

Scroogled Links

The site didn’t exist 30 days ago and now it has a good number of links from authority sites. Not bad, Bing.

SERP Real Estate

Over the past 18 months, GoDaddy has had its share of PR disasters. From the elephant shooting video to the company’s support of SOPA, the Internet has been none too kind to GoDaddy. Neither have their competitors.

While many competitors jumped to declare their stance on the issues, NameCheap took a different route, publicly calling out GoDaddy, offering discounts for domain transfers, and during the elephant debacle, donating $ 1 to Save the Elephants for every domain transferred from GoDaddy to NameCheap. The story was picked up everywhere, especially after 20,000 domains were transferred.

By calling out GoDaddy, NameCheap not only garnered mentions and links, but they were able to grab some real estate in the search results for the GoDaddy brand name. One year later, when you search NameCheap, you still see them being associated with GoDaddy in the related searches and competitive searches:

Namecheap vs Godaddy

Gaining search share against a major competitor can be next to impossible but by calling out GoDaddy and taking advantage of their errors, NameCheap was able to do just that.

So there you have it. Bad-mouthing a competitor may be bad for business but it can be great for SEO. The next time you’re struggling to come up with a link building strategy, look no further than the competitor you like the least.

Note: The author of this post does not condone bad-mouthing competitors for the sake of SEO. Happy Holidays!

Bruce Clay Blog