When building a website, you probably put some kind of emphasis on search engine optimization so that you can get free traffic from the search engines. While people have been focusing on building up their own reputations in the search engines for years, recently some webmasters have taken to using negative search engine optimization tactics to hurt other sites.
The idea behind this phenomenon is that you can engage in certain activities that will negatively affect your competitors, which could in turn help your own cause. Instead of exerting effort to bring up your own rankings in the search engines, you exert effort to bring down the rankings of your competitors.
Why the Focus Now?
This type of activity has always been around to some degree. In recent weeks, many SEO enthusiasts have been talking about it because of changes to the Google algorithm. Google recently took the steps to de-index blog networks that webmasters were using to artificially increase their rankings in the search engines. In addition to doing this, Google started sending out notices to webmasters through their Webmaster Tools interface notifying them that they detected unnatural linking practices. Many of the sites that were using these types of links have found their search engine rankings plummet and their traffic decrease substantially since that point.
Because of this, people started to get the idea that by pointing low quality links to competitors, they could negatively affect the rankings of their competitor’s sites. For example, you could easily buy a package of spam links from low-quality blogs and list your competitor’s site as the site to link to. Then, in theory, the pages that you link to would be hurt by the spam links.
In addition to using negative linking practices, there are also some people out there that engage in hacking activities to hurt other sites. For example, they break into the FTP server of a site and upload malware, viruses or other negative programs, which can negatively affect the reputation of the site.
Some of the worst offenders in the negative SEO business use other tactics to hurt their competitors. For example, they may hire people to post negative reviews about a business online. They might email other companies that link to a site and ask them to take down a link due to a pending lawsuit. There are a number of different techniques that negative search engine optimization users utilize to hurt others.
Should You Engage? Negative SEO is a dark area of the Internet marketing and it has gotten a lot of attention recently. If you are considering getting involved in this discipline, you should probably think again. This isn’t something that people should be doing online, although it does happen from time to time. If you are building a website, you should be aware of some of the potential threats that you may face from competitors. If you’re in a very highly competitive niche, you could risk being a target at some point.
If you want to run a high-quality business and a quality site, you should stay away from these practices at all times. Instead of investing resources and time into hurting someone else, and that time building up your own brand and reputation. It can pay much bigger dividends in the long run.