Negative SEO: A Tactical Point of View
Okay, so you are an SMB owner, with a website that you use to bring in new leads or sell products or services and you’re wondering about your site’s rankings and effects of recent changes to the Google algorithm. Or you’ve perhaps noticed that your own site’s rankings have “dipped” a bit and you wonder why? Then this post about negative SEO is all about you and your site!
First, what is “negative SEO?” It’s a simple set of tactics that anyone can use to change – for the worse mind you – the rankings of any site. Your own. Your competitors. Even a site you’ve never ever visited….negative SEO is a way to make changes to that site.
But wait you say - hasn’t Google always said that such a method does NOT WORK? That negative SEO abided by the principle that nothing external to a site could harm it directly, ensuring that sites would be safe from the malice of competitors. Evidence for NSEO had been initially unreliable and anecdotal, and that’s the premise of this post – and we found a great set of tactical evidence that negative SEO does exist…and that’s thanks to a great study doen by the folks over at www.tastyplacement.com and their post here entitled “Testing Negative SEO.”
Their infographic is a great way to get their summation of the testing study… but the real meat of the tactics are in the underlying copy itself. What they did, was to use an internal site and on purpose try to sabotage the serps for same using junk links from forums, blog comments and sidebar links too, to drive down the rankings for that site in the Google index.
Honest. It worked. They simply took some time (2 weeks or so) and some dollars (less than $50) and applied their hypothesis that such junk links “could” drive down a site’s serps – and yup, it worked….color me “gob-smacked!”
Think about that. Think long and hard about that POV…that anyone can use a few dollars and a bit of time…to erase the hard work and efforst of any site to rank for their keywords. Unfair? Absolutely it is! Will it be used? Absolutely it will…and I’d say that it already is in use. Will someone use it against your site? Don’t know….do you?
Did you think about that? I have on behalf of all of my clients…and is there a solution to try to combat this?
Yes, there is…..and that would be the constant monitoring of links to your sites by a great service like those provided by Majestic or SEOmoz or even the BING site explorer. Look at the current links, monitor the new ones carefully….and watch for anything that is outside of the normal growth of same. That can’t combat the negative tactics, but it will point them out….then there’s the issue of how you report same to Google.
Oh, reporting to Google? Hmm…if you want to see what Barry Schwartz of www.seoroundtable.com has to say over at YouTube on their channel…click here. Or, for more on the Google tool that is so far, non-functional for reporting these links, click here to read about googler John Mueller has to say on same.