The Rise of Negative SEO
Google Penguin was built to reduce the number of poor quality cookie-cutter affiliate sites out there, reward high quality sites with natural backlinks and provide stability to SEO in general. While I’m sure Google had our best intentions at heart; when there are people out there looking to game you for as much cash as possible there will always be those that get caught in the crossfire.
Since the inception of Google Penguin, online marketers (and affiliate marketers in particular) have been shaken to the core. With businesses and affiliates having to re-strategise and build their SEO campaigns from the ground up again a new kind of black market has been brewing in the depths of black hat hell… enter NEGATIVE SEO.
What Is Negative SEO
When you think of SEO, most people traditionally jump to black hat / white hat agencies that attempt to increase your organic visibility within a search engine (or some people jump to CEO’s… but that’s another matter). The negative in negative SEO is simply that, instead of increasing your organic visibility, someone will attempt to reduce your rankings with in a search engine or “the process of demoting a webpage or a website from SERP”.
Executing a negative SEO campaign was traditionally no simple task and usually required engaging in activities which were borderline illegal (e.g hacking a website to inject code / DDOS / DMCA) etc. Google had stated on numerous occasions that too many links / poor quality links could not harm your site. This was true to a degree and instead of a link penalising your site it would simply be ignored or devalued.
However since Penguin, Negative SEO has become a lot more accessible to those with a megre budget. It’s become so cheap infact that negative SEO opportunities have been spotted on Fiverr. I have seen the effects of a negative SEO campaign first hand and will say that on established websites a simple mass spike of links wont be enough to kill a site. So for those with larger businesses you can feel slightly safe in the knowledge that Google has your back. What I have observed on smaller sites (local businesses / not yet established brands) is that a small NSEO campaign can have devastating effects on your organic visibility and there’s not much you can do once your site has been hit.
Would You Like To Know More Citizen?
If someone is out to get you then you must be wondering is there anything I can do? The short answer is unfortunately not much. If someone is out to get you then you will in the short term be suffering. Until Google finds a better way to handle the uptake of negative SEO as a whole then a lot of people will feel the wrath of their enemies.
A good example of the effects of Negative SEO is shown on this great post at Traffic Planet http://trafficplanet.com/topic/2369-case-study-negative-seo-results/ . It details the experience of Dan Thies and what happened when he pissed off the wrong people.
Have You Been Hit?
Has your site been hit by a negative SEO attack or do you know someone that has? Post your experiences below, I’d love to hear from you!