With Google now clamping down on unnatural link building, link farms, link exchanges and other nefarious practices, you'd think everyone would be happy – especially those in the white hat SEO industry. But of course this new change of algorithm also has a knock on effect – negative SEO.
What is 'Negative' SEO?
If Google are penalising websites for obvious link building programmes and using automated link building tools to build keyword rich links back to their website, then it's perfectly obvious that your competitors could actually use certain underhand tactics to undermine your website ranking from the outside. There are negative SEO agencies out there who offer to build bad links to your competitors and trash their search engine ranking (and thus, their business). Quite a worrying prospect – that something outside your control could inadvertently affect your website traffic and your revenue. After a recent Tweet by Dan Thies to Matt Cutts about the algorithm changes, certain quarters took it upon themselves to put negative SEO to the test with a little experiment on his website. The results were more than worrying and proved that negative SEO is indeed effective (at the moment).
Should You be Worried?
So the question is should you be worried about negative SEO? The answer is not really clear. It's likely that Google has already picked up on this and will be working to balance out the issue in the coming months. They necessarily have to strike a careful balance between giving weight to 'natural' links, penalising unnatural links while judging which is which – supporting legitimate quality sites, while diminishing the rankings of the low-quality spam sites.
You can only imagine the technical difficulties in distinguishing between links someone built themselves and links built by a competitor to undermine them.
The best advice is:
- Avoid building anything but natural high quality links
- Avoid negative SEO companies like the plague
For ethical SEO that does things the right way, get in touch with us today.