Negative SEO is a growing problem and it is something you as a webmaster need to be aware of. In this article we are going to look a little more at Negative SEO. What is it and what does it do.
What is SEO
SEO is the art of optimizing your website to reach the top of Google. This involves making sure that the website has good content that is going to attract readers, that the on page structure is good and makes it easy for the search engine to understand the page, that the page loads quickly, that it works well on mobile units as well as a number of other things. SEO also includes getting other quality websites to link to your to show Google that they can trust your website.
SEO can be very challenging when you try to reach the top of the search engines for a very popular key word.
What is negative SEO
Negative SEO is the opposite of regular SEO. The goal of regular SEO is to get your website to the top. The goal of negative SEO is to make other sites fall from the top and thereby allowing your website to rank higher. You try to hurt other sites to make them weaker instead of making your site stronger.
Does Negative SEO work?
Google did for a long time deny that it was possible to use negative SEO to hurt another site but it did eventually get very clear that it was possible and Google did admit in the end. This caused a lot more black hats to start using the technique and the problem quickly became wide spread.
Google do claim that it is no longer possible to use Negative SEO because they have updated their algorithms so that links to your site is unable to hurt you. Google claims to simply ignore them if they believe them to be junks links. There are however numerous webmasters who claim that they have fallen offer for negative SEO after this. The claims from webmasters is no proof that Negative SEO still works. There are hundreds of things that can affect your ranking and it is easy for a webmaster to decide that negative SEO was to blame even though something completely different might have been to blame. On the other hand we know that Google have been lying about this in the past.
The best I can say is that it might still work.
My own experience
My own experience with negative SEO (as a victim) tells me that it do not work but it might seem like it does. It is in my experience common that a negative SEO campaign can cause your site to drop like a rock in the SERPS. It is very easy to panic when this happens and start to disavow the spam links etc. My experience do however tell me that your ranking usually comes back anyway within a couple of weeks. You do not have to disavow the links because Google does a rather good job of this themselves. It takes a couple of the weeks but the algorithm does understand which links are part of a negative SEO campaign and do discount them automatically. When this happens any penalty your site might have had for a time will be lifted.
It is true that the weeks that your website is pushed down from the top of the search engines can cost a lot of money. But at least it seems like negative SEO is less likely to do permanent damage then it used to be.
My advice if you are a victim is to just keep building on your website and hopefully it will come back in a few weeks. If it doesn’t then you can start disavowing links etc.
Preventing Negative SEO
The main thing you can do to prevent negative SEO is to build a strong high quality site. The stronger your link profile is and the better content you have the harder it is going to be to hurt your website with a negative attack.