Negative SEO- A weird name to start the post with, isn’t it? Well, here is where the funny part ends. Ever since Google went “overboard” in its endeavour to “clean up the SERP of webspam”, beginning with the tsunami of Panda and then Penguin updates, it has received flak from irate webmasters whose sites have been penalised, even though head of Google webspam team, Matt Cutts, announcing that Penguin was a success. He said:
It’s been a success from our standpoint.
Matt also went ahead and said:
No algorithm is perfect. While we’d like to achieve perfection, our litmus test is, ‘Do things get better than before?
Yes exactly Matt. Penguin has really improved search results. Take a look at the pic below to see yourself.
Yes people. Arnold eats books by Amazon.com. You should try them too. So much for the “over-optimisation” or “webspam” update. More crap is coming in SERP than ever.
Another aspect of this over-optimisation emerged- Negative SEO, or harming your competitors by creating bad links for them. Google, in its guidelines, had clearly mentioned that:
Can competitors harm ranking? There’s nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.
However, in November, it was noticed that the above statement had changed. though only one word had been added, it was enough to send trembles in the SEO world. ALMOST can be such a bi^ch.
Can competitors harm ranking? There’s ALMOST nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.
What is Negative SEO?
Positive SEO is something that we do for our own good, something which Google likes. Negative SEO is opposite of that in every sense. Firstly, it is not for us, but for out competitors. Secondly, it is for their bad, not their good. Third, its something that Google does not like, and is more than happy to send “The Letter” to the webmasters.
While Google may claim there is “ALMOST (the B-word)” nothing someone can do to harm your rankings, face up:- if you can get your rankings screwed with your own off-page tactics, you can (or someone else can) “help someone else do it too”.
You read the above 2 statements about Negative SEO, here is the third one from Google, which indirectly points at them admitting that Negative SEO is possible.
Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.
What Started The Negative SEO Debate?
A humble tweet, which many webmasters, particularly those affected by the Penguin update, found distasteful, started the whole debate about Negative SEO.
Agreed Dan is a well known face in SEO world, but many, including people at Trafficplanet, got mighty p*ssed at this tweet, and decided to do a little experiment of their own, to see if Negative SEO could actually bring down a site. Find the details here.
Many people believed Negative SEO was not possible because Google just discounted the spammy links, but Panda proved that they infact, penalised your site those links rather than discount them. My own blog was penalised just because one idiot scum-bag decided to put my link (and of 15 others) in hidden text. A bad link from a PR6 site was good enough to bring the traffic down.
Oh well, for those who prefer staying here, here is what happened to his rankings, and the rankings of his site seofaststart and NegativeSEO:
Before the start: March 22
SEO service- rank 34
SEO book- rank 3
Negative SEO- rank 2
Destroy your competition- rank 1
After the attacks: April 18
SEO- not in top 1000
SEO service- not in top 1000
SEO book- rank 34
Negative SEO- rank 6
Destroy your competition- rank 13
This proved that Negative SEO was possible, something they told Matt Cutts too:
Negative SEO is possible. Sort it out!
They did not have very kind words to say to Dan though:
Next time you want to smugly throw your holier than thou 2 cents into the ring, think before you speak. Every backlink to your site was analyzed before starting this. Don’t think those 301d domains hide what you are doing because they don’t – you are the same as the rest of us – your methods for link bait are, in fact, worse than some of the ‘spammers’ you so often refer to. Now your pants are being pooped and it’s long overdue
End result: Even though Dan received a major setback to his rankings, worse was yet to come, as he received “The Letter”. Nothing WhiteHat in his approach, said the “scientists” at trafficplanet. You can see the results of their action here (and if you too were offended by his tweet, you have the sadistic pleasure of watching him get trolled )
How can you do Negative SEO?
Doing Negative SEO is not a very difficult task. Just follow these few steps:
- The Good Ways of Negative SEO
1. Promote a rival brand- So you sell bats and your competitor sells bat and balls? No sweat. Promote another company which sells balls, and your competitor sees his rankings go down. Unfortunately, the good stops here.
- The Bad Ways of Negative SEO