Negative SEO is the practice of a third-party deliberately sabotaging your site in order to lower its organic rank placement. It’s an ongoing campaign of dirty tricks that some business owners use to gain an artificial advantage over their competitors on the web. The systematic attack, also referred to as “Google bowling” or “Google bombing”, has but one goal–to knock a site off the first page of Google.
The most disturbing part about being targeted with negative SEO is that it can have a substantial detrimental affect on your site, no matter how good its architecture or its content.
How Negative SEO Works
Primarily the scenario which occurs is company “A” has a high organic ranking on Google’s first page. Company “B”, the competition, has a lower rank on Google. So, company “B” hires an outside contractor to perform negative SEO on company “A’s” site.
In a manner of weeks, company “A’s” Google ranking falls steadily after company “A” has worked so hard to increase its traffic and conversions. That leaves a vacuum at the top of organic search results, which company “B” positions to fill.
There used to be much debate surrounding the issue of whether or not a competitor could attack your website in such a way that it could have such a hard-hitting detrimental effect on your search engine rankings. It is now a harsh reality that negative SEO practices cancause your site to drop in ranking and even be removed from Google altogether. —UK Guardian
The actually workings of negative SEO are not difficult.
It’s just a matter of using grey and black-hat tactics on a target site. For instance, purchasing backlinks and pointing them to the target site. Or building links from low quality sites to the target site. Whatever the avenue, it employs various measures which Bing and Google specifically forbid. And the result range from mild to severe penalization, up-to and including being removed from the indexes of search engines.
Recovering from Bad or Negative SEO
The good news is, negative SEO doesn’t have to be an inescapable problem. It can be dealt with. But it does take effort. Vigilance will be required and taking proactive as well as reactive steps:
- Monitor your site’s webmaster interface. By keeping a close eye on which other sites are linking in, you can spot possible trends and take action.
- Disavow low quality inbound links. The action to take is to use Google’s disavow tool. Define those spammy backlinks and tell search engines not to count them.
- Refocus on your site’s content. Once the initial identification has been done and the links disavowed, it’s time to spruce up your site’s copy. Just a little TLC and publishing high quality blog posts will do the trick.