My colleague Allan posted his reaction about a search result which shows a site with low quality (and probably link popularity) rank ahead of an official site — using its brand name as part of the keyword.
I am talking about Fubon Bank, a Taiwan-based financial company operating in Hong Kong.
I just discover that.. the website of Fubon Bank Hong Kong , is actually having a lower google ranking than a (possibly) fake site of Fubon Bank! How dangerous it is
I couldn’t agree more, Alan. 36% of search engine users believe that top results are top brands. Which means that if they see the top results showing the title and description appear the same, if not better, as that of the official site Fubon Bank, they will click on these results. A case of too much confidence on search engines? I think so.
Typically, search engines display the official sites if keywords relating to their brands are used as search query. Take for example Nike, search for “nike” and you’ll see the global site show up on the top results even if the site is does not have much text content, rendered in Flash (although Nike does have tons of inbound links).
While cases like Fubon Bank Hong Kong are sometimes inevitable, this one of the glitches that often Google addresses immediately, whether through Google’s anti-spam detection filters or by concerned web users who report web spam to Google directly. If you search for “fubon hong kong“, while the “rogue” page still appears on the top spot, clicking its link redirects back to the official site.
But what if not? Certainly, this brings us to conclude the unofficial site is engaged in phishing, and innocent users who want to check out offers such as credit cards, mortgage and loans might be lured to disclose personal and financial data.
This leads to huge impact on the bank’s reputation online and offline. As long as there are people they can fool, owners of phishing sites are not gonna give up easily to the combined forces to search engine users and search engines. Phishing is going to continue that’s why one of the SEO Predictions for 2008 includes “reputation management / search leveraged press release services will grow further this year”.