What is Negative SEO?

Competition is everywhere, you can sense it around you when you’re in something that has even one bit of competition. There is always a vibe or two coming from somewhere that tells you that you will face people wanting to take over your business and replacing it with theirs. Its inevitable, competition will always exist.

Search Engine Optimization is something that is no exception. There is a lot of competition in SEO as well, whether you’re providing it as a service, or doing it for your own website, you will always get people trying to get better than you. Competition is appreciated in most circles and is mostly welcomed. But in SEO, this might not be the case.

In this field of the Internet, which is the optimization of websites on the Internet, comes out a negative aspect of competition. Competition which is supposed to be healthy, and that is, Negative SEO. It could be defined as deceptive practices in SEO to make another person’s website(s) perform bad in Search Engines, how are these practices taken about? Lets check out:

– Incoming Links: Search Engines pay heed to what kind of websites link to you, and sometimes, people “GoogleBowl” their competition with practices that involve linking from shady/illegal websites. The good part is that Search Engines don’t ban websites over such links anymore, but there is also bad news, with Google’s new paid link detection methods coming up, Googlebowlers may just find a new way to destroy competition.

– Outgoing links: Forums, blog comments, discussion groups. All of these places are supposed to have activity from people, but sometimes Negative Optimizers might use these places to link to websites that are considered unsafe/illegal/banned by Search Engines. As a result of which your website might be straight out banned from the SE’s. Solution? Nofollow all outgoing links by default (guide coming up soon)

– Script Hijacking: Sometimes people might exploit the scripts used by their competitor’s websites and do things that violate Search Engine policies (such as keyword spamming) and then get the website banned. Highly unlikely if you’re a webmaster who keeps a watch and maintains security.

– Links Explosion: Somewhat of a sister to Googlebowling, this is a method used by people with a large number of websites under their control (Typically 200+). What happens is, when a website gets a lot of links with the same anchor texts etc. from many many websites (200+) they get sandboxed in Google. There is really no way to avoid this, but to much relief this is a rare occurence.

– Accusations: If you have any ads on your websites except adsense. There is a chance of your competitors reporting you to Google for serving them with spyware and adware. I know this because it happened to a website of one of my colleagues, he had Clicksor’s Interstitial ads. Now if you look up his website in Google, they don’t appear right at the top of keyphrases and Google actually shows a warning that the website might be dangerous.

So this all that is basically to Negative SEO, attempts in getting the competitor’s website kicked out of the Search Engines’ index, getting them low in SERPs, getting them blacklisted, it all counts as Negative SEO. Although Search Engines try a lot that people aren’t influenced by this black face of SEO, one must also be cautious and keep a watch, its only then websites could be protected from the effects of Negative SEO.

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