This article is contributed by Charles Dodgson.
The big scare in the latest months has been whether or not negative SEO exists, and if it is possible to negatively impact another webmasters website. The truth is, negative SEO has existed for quite some time, it’s definitely possible to penalize another site on the Internet. Could someone target your website?
Black Hat SEO
The reason for this is that Google has continuously penalized websites that engage in black hat and gray hat marketing techniques. If you are getting an extremely large amount of backlinks to your website, this is an indication that you are using automated tools. Immediately, you are going to notice declines in your search engine rankings, since Google’s algorithm updates are able to detect these poor optimization practices. Unfortunately, it is possible for somebody else to build these types of links for your website, making you appear as the culprit.
It is also possible for somebody to aggressively take down the quality links that are pointing to a website. For instance, there have been reports of people engaging in illegal practices, such as contacting websites with links pointing to their competitors, telling them that they will file a complaint if they do not take down the links. Unfortunately, a lot of webmasters will respond to these contact requests, by removing the links, which will penalize the competitors. The webmasters respond to the requests and take down the links, because they do not want to be pursued with a complaint. They would rather avoid the trouble, even though the complaint is completely bogus. This is very unfortunate, since it presents a way for competing websites to attack their competition and try to negatively impact their search engine optimization efforts.
Google Penguin update
The Google Penguin update was launched in order to negatively impact websites that had a large number of incoming links coming from the same anchor text. Anchor text has been a way for SEO’s to get ranked in search engines for specific terms that are related to their business. For instance, webmasters would build links and have the anchor text for that link, be a related term about their products or services. This always helps drive up the rankings for that specific keyword, it still does today, but you have to be careful how many links you have with that specific anchor text. Now, only a select percentage of your links should be built with anchor text, the other ones should be diversified. If you have a large number of links all with the same anchor text, Google will consider this over optimization, and they will slap your website with a harsh penalty that could completely remove all of your rankings from its search engine. In order to recover from this, it could take months or even years.
The Penguin update is not just judging the anchor text, it is also taking other factors of your internal and external links into consideration. So what does this mean to the search engine optimization expert? It means that it is entirely possible to aggressively try to take down one of your competitors, by doing negative SEO for their website. It also means that negative SEO does exist, since there is a window for what Google will not stand for, and you can try to hurt your competitors by building these types of links.
So how is one of your competitors going to negatively impact your website?
By buying thousands of spam links, using the same types of anchor text, and directing them straight at your website. This could trigger one of the red flags of the Google Penguin or Panda updates, and your website could be penalized in the search engines.
Does Negative SEO work?
The fact of the matter is, if somebody were to do this to your website, and you were not an authority website with many years under your belt on the Internet, then yes, this could seriously hurt your rankings. It is not realistic to think that you could bring down an authority website that has been operating for a long time, using this type of technique. These sites have just too many quality backlinks, it would be impossible to try and harm their search engine presence.
A Google Disallow Link Tool – maybe
Google is already trying to work up a solution, such as presenting a “disallow link tool” in the Google Webmaster Central. This way, webmasters could completely disallow incoming links that have been built to their website. If a ruthless competitor is trying to harm your website and it is impossible to remove these incoming links, the site owner could then just use the disallow link tool to completely dismiss all of these links that are coming to your website. Many webmasters are eagerly waiting for the day that this tool is introduced. As of yet, it has not come out, but it will definitely level the playing field when it does. This way, negative SEO will no longer be a possibility, since everyone will know that disallowing these links will just be around the corner if they invest money into trying to take down a competitor.
Author Bio :- Charles Dodgson works as a contributing editor for WL Marketing SEM Services Company – an established collaboration of Internet marketing specialists delivering quality link building services and executing highly targeted digital advertising campaigns for businesses and professionals.