Negative SEO Being Used to Exploit Search Engines and Hurt Competitors
The idea of Negative SEO — any type of SEO technique used to hurt a competitor — has long been a subject that seasoned SEO specialists like to keep quiet about. It’s not because they use those techniques, it’s because it’s so easy to do and they don’t want anyone to know about it. Unfortunately, the people who do these techniques already know about them and staying mum about it only helps if you prefer a state of denial.
Stephan Spencer of Searchlight SEO blog over at CNET recently wrote about Negative SEO and the different techniques that are used (or could be used). The first two techniques he listed are probably the easiest and most widespread practices. They include Google Bowling and Spam In Another’s Name.
Google bowling: As Google attempted to curb link-popularity exploitation by penalizing Web sites that purchase link ads across the entire site, it also created the environment in which Google bowling came to be. As a form of negative SEO (search engine optimization), certain unscrupulous entities began buying sitewide links for competitor sites, thus causing them to incur the Google penalty. Simple, evil and a very real practice.
Spam in another’s name: This form of negative SEO is even more simple. If spam gets Web sites in trouble with search engines, then creating spam on behalf of a competitor might lower their search engine results. In addition, a Web site’s URL can be used for spamming in online forums, social-network sites and blog comments. It’s hard to prove that the victim is innocent, and social-network sites might ban that Web site regardless. This can have a negative effect on the link neighborhood of a site.
Just for the record, Negative SEO is evil and is usually unlawful. I wouldn’t advise anyone to do it, but I would advise anyone who is the victim of Negative SEO to try to find out who the perpetrator was and to use every legal option available to make them pay for their actions.