How to rank high for a word you're not allowed to use?

Hi, firstly I don’t specialisise in SEO and online marketing but it is easy to build the site properly to start with and get listed easily - just need relavant content and so on.

The issue is I have a client who wants to be top for “Botox Ballina” but apparently she says it is illegal to use the word “Botox” on a website. Her competition has used the word and gets listed for it, even on pages without the word Botox or Ballina - neither in the content nor in the code.

So my question: how do they do that?

Please see here

I suspect they have a lot of backlinks from strong PageRank pages with botox ballina in the anchor text. I also suspect that the Google index associates plastic surgery with botox.

UPDATE: here is an example of one of the links they have: <snip>

[FONT=verdana]Illegal to use the word “Botox” on a website? Surely not? (In fact, you just used it, and so did I.)

It might well be illegal to make false claims for a botox-based product. It might - in some countries - be illegal to sell or promote the product. But I seriously doubt that anyone can be prosecuted simply for mentioning the word.

I would suggest you ask your client to clarify exactly what she means when she says it is illegal. If the site is breaking the law in some other way - or if there is any doubt as to its legality - then you might want to think twice before having anything to do with it. In that case, SEO is the least of your worries.


Agree with @Mikl;

The words “botox ballina” are not forbidden on the web… so it would better to know exactly why it would be illegal to use them.

As @squadron; says, it looks like the number of strong, meaningful backlinks is big for the first concept

I’ve been searching through Google by just typing the keyword ‘Botox Ballina’. I’ve seen lot of websites are mentioning the keywords ‘Botox’ in their website and in their titles as well. They are ranking well. Why are they not penalized by Google?


Why should they be? If that’s what the page is about, why would you expect it to be penalised?[/FONT]

I am pretty sure they are not illegal but the question is interesting :slight_smile: Is it possible with the keyword just in the meta tags (not to use it in the content area) to get high rankings?


No. If you look around this forum, you’ll find a number of other threads discussing the fact that the keyword meta tag is of very little use nowadays. Google no longer takes it into account at all, and while other search engines may still use it, they use it to confirm what the page is about. Having a keyword in your meta tag that doesn’t appear on the page is pointless.[/FONT]

10x I was just wandering if it is possible :slight_smile:

[FONT=verdana]As was mentioned earlier, it’s more likely that there were some high-quality links pointing to the sites, which had the b-word in their anchor text.

I once read that the highest ranking site for the phrase “click here” was the page where you download the Adobe PDF viewer. That page didn’t itself contain the phrase “click here”. But thousands of pages from other sites contained phrases like “You will need the Adobe viewer to open this file. If you don’t have the viewer, click here to download it”.

It’s unlikey that the same thing applies to “Botox Ballina”, but you never know.


Hi everyone, thanks so much for all your help and advice, it is much appreciated :). So sorry I didn’t realise there had been any response! Your advice makes a lot of sense, I’ll look into back linking and will ask the client to send me some details about the B word - directly from the source.

Thanks again everyone!

I’m willing to bet the reason you were told it was illegal to do this is because Botox is the trade name of the toxin used when you get…botoxed?

Naturally, if you are trying to sell a service or product that uses another companies trademark then you’ll probably get in a ton of trouble if they catch you.

Thanks Ultimate, yes that is very logical. So really we’re back to square one and the client should not use the word - but at least with backlinks it would be possible to get up there in the listings results for Botox.

Thanks :slight_smile:

[FONT=verdana]Actually, I’m not sure I agree. Just because a word is a trade-marked name, that doesn’t make it illegal to use that word. If that was not so, we would never be able to talk about Palmolive soap or Johnson & Johnson baby powder or, for that matter, IBM computers.

Ultimate, you say “if you are trying to sell a service or product that uses another companies trademark then you’ll probably get in a ton of trouble if they catch you”. Yes, you’re certainly right to say that you can’t pass yourself off as the owner of that company’s trademark. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mention their name. And, of course, it doesn’t apply if you are actually selling that other company’s product.

I still think it would be useful to know exactly why the client thinks this particular word is illegal in their case.


@Mikl, you’re absolutely right. There is absolutely no problem in mentioning a trademarked name, and if you set up backlinks containing the word Botox I doubt they’d even care.

If you’re selling their products then there is probably something in the contract or invoice you signed for the supply of these products. Obviously, if you didn’t purchase products from a registered supplier then you will be in trouble.

What does he mean by illegal? Is it Trade Marked the word Botox?
And even if it is … you can mention it.
Cause you got to ask this: if I sell Botox … what am I supposed to say that I’m selling?

I am sure your competitor is using strong backlink from authority website. There are many way to get high page rank in google. I am sure they have spend hundreds of dollar for that, because you need hundreds of backlink in many blog and site related with botox and other plastic surgery niche.

Hi people I think I have finally made sense of it all. I have yet to confirm - but I think my client doesn’t actually use Botox. Since Botox is marketed so well it has become a household name and so people naturally will search for it by brand name instead of by the active ingredients or medical procedure name (botulinum toxin type A injection - something like that :wink:

So I see backlinks are the way to go, although I know very little about them and see that Google is starting to frown upon them.

I’d rather not hire a company with cheap labour costs and low English language skills to submit thousands of backlinks. I imagine that would do far more harm then good?

Maybe I’ll join Seomoz and see if there is a better way.

I guess my client could have a blog and write about how Botox is not the only option when it comes to ‘botulinum toxin type A’. Then they would not be breaching a laws I assume.

Right I must get some Hoovering done…

[FONT=verdana]Morktron, I’m still confused about what your client is trying to achieve.

You say she “doesn’t actually use Botox”. But she seems to be trying to attract visitors who are searching for Botox. Is she selling some other form of Botulinum toxin? Why does she want to optimise for that particular keyword, if she is not selling the product?

If she is selling a competing product, the site can still include the word “Botox”, even in the site title, provided she doesn’t make any false claims or attempt to pass her product off as the original Botox. For example, she could provide a simple comparison chart, or simply say why her product is better than Botox.

Then again, if Botox is such a competitive keyword, as you suggest, maybe the whole strategy should be questioned.

As for backlinks, I can’t see how that’s going to help you. You already know that any backlinks that you can generate yourself are going to have no value in the eyes of the search engines. And it will be a real struggle to get “natural” backlinks containing the word “Botox” for a site that doesn’t sell Botox. Why would anyone want to link to it?