Interns Outranking Their Superiors

Sep 5, 2012 • 8:38 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

internI found an interesting story of a company who had an intern who learned their business, started their own competing business and ranks in the number two position on Google for that company name.

The story is on the Google Webmaster Help forums, and the company that hired the intern wants Google to remove the intern's competing business from ranking for it's company name.

Here is the post:

We are a small company that gets a lot of web traffic and links on larger sites that profile our work. However, the regional search listing for our company lists a linkedin profile of an intern that worked with us for 3 months, part time over a year ago as the 2nd search result for the compnay. This result is higher than the companies co-founders (who have gone through Linked in an made all content visible to google) and above all other high traffic sites the company is posted on.

How can this happen? The intern now has their own company in the same business so having them appear as the second listing for our company is obviously a conflict of interest. Linkedin says they can do nothing, google can't help as the page is denied to be removed through web-master tools.

But I don't think this was the intention of the intern. The LinkedIn profile can rank high for terms, but it is surprising that it would outrank other content.

If it was me, I'd make sure my loyal employees are on LinkedIn and have the company profile linked up there. Maybe that can push down this intern's profile and maybe they can get other content there.

Of course, John Mueller of Google links to Google's article on how to handle reputation management issues. John wrote:

In a case like this, Google would not take manual action to change the rankings of specific sites. In particular, if the content is still visible on these sites, it would be normal that they might appear in the search results for that content. The following blog post may be useful to you, it gives insights into similar situations and provides some useful tips.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for intern

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Comments:

Alen Jones

09/06/2012 08:54 am

It would be good if you share the company's name too...:)

Jeff

09/06/2012 10:10 pm

I like to use a 100 year non-compete with a blanket non-disclosure :-)

Yw

09/11/2012 09:29 am

perhaps, they might want to consider engaging the intern as their SEO consultant...

Steven Klinghoffer

09/16/2012 03:25 pm

This is a real problem. We generally ask any body we share info about our busy with to sign a nondisclosure agreement. However, they are of limited value. Courts don't like to enforce broad negative covenants.

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