Google’s changes have shaken the Internet marketing community to the core, and negative SEO is becoming a big problem as a result. AdSense accounts are being banned, sites are getting slapped around like rag dolls, and positions are dancing so much in the SERPs they’re practically breaking a sweat.
Times are confusing at best, and downright frightening at worst. It’s a tumultuous time to be in IM. It’s also really exciting, because from the ashes, new tactics and strategies arise that make many people very rich.
Negative SEO is not one of those strategies.
What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO has been around arguably as long as Google itself. It’s not a new strategy by any means. In fact, it even has a nickname: Google Bowling. It’s the act of throwing all the most spammy black hat linkbuilding tactics in the book at a site that ranks higher than yours in an attempt to knock it from the search engine rankings in order to open up a spot for your own site.
The process is unsettlingly simple. People engaging in negative SEO must only make a site appear spammy to Google in order to knock it from the listings and possibly de-index it. Especially now that Google is cracking down and sending the dreaded “unnatural links detected” email to webmasters en masse.
Though not illegal, it is quite certainly unethical. One must simply build links to the target site that originate from bad websites, such as members of the recently-targeted blog networks, link farms, or any other automatically-generated spam sites. All it takes is a blast or two of thousands of links generated by a program, wait for the links to appear in Google’s SERPs, and bingo. Spam alert triggered.
Why is This a Concern Now?
The gray hat tricks that webmasters have been using to rank have been steadily stripped away over the past few months. Blog networks have gone buh-bye, blackhat programs to build massive amounts of links in a short time now flag alerts, and exact match domains and overly optimized pages are a thing of the past. Without all those tools in the arsenal, IMers are left wondering how in the world to rank.
Google says that key lies in good, quality content and a nice, healthy authority site that’s fleshed out to the max and continuously updated. The sad reality, however, is that many people are too lazy to spend time to make that happen, so they turn to methods that will act as shortcuts to make money online fast. Instead of spending months or years creating a high-quality site that works for the user, they choose to simply destroy sites that are in the way of theirs. This is unfortunate, because the latter option would add value to the Internet for everyone and even the playing field immensely for those wishing to get into the website creation game.
Take comfort in this, however: As this issue trends, Google will certainly take notice and take dramatic steps to nix the problem immediately. Negative SEO may currently be a threat, but it won’t be one for long enough to cause people to stop building sites for good.