Negative SEO has suddenly got very big news in the internet marketing world, its also making some people very worried. Google has long maintained that a competitor could not do anything to damage your ranking. Those of us in online marketing knew different.
If you have been keeping an eye on the Google guidelines as reported by Shaun Anderson they have changed
“Can competitors harm ranking? There’s nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.”
“There’s ALMOST nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.”
Then on March 14th to:
“Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able 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.”
So as we see Google is rewording, what does this mean. Many people see Google as the enemy and suspect Googles game plan is just profit by having search dominated by paid search results killing websites that don’t/cant pay for paid search listings.
We are seeing negative SEO companies springing up. A sort of assassin for websites working hard to kill your business. I recently read a forum post about a case study done detailing the take down of http://www.justgoodcars.com/ the owner tried to contact Google via its forums to no avail and if you check the rankings even today there is no sign of the site for the major keywords targeted
What is Negative SEO
Simply put Negative SEO is simply building lots of low quality links in a very short space of time. As a rule of thumb the easier it is to get those links the lower quality they will be. Of course there are going to be exceptions but not many. In the past Google always maintained that this sort of thing was not possible and low quality links carried very little weight and would not influence rankings positively or negatively.
The ability for a competitor to have a control of your rankings is going to have far reaching ramifications within the on-line business community. The world of SEO just got a whole lot darker. I’m interested to see when will Google take action will it be when the victim of an on line take down takes off-line action? We will have to wait and see. If Google does nothing then many will see it as part of the plan to make everybody switch to paid search.