Negative SEO: The Alarming (and growing) trend in Internet Marketing.

Category: Marketing Dilemmas, SEO

Anybody that has been performing Search Engine Optimization for any amount of time knows that bad back links lead to bad results. Yesterday, I saw a blog post over at Search Engine Roundtable that highlighted a survey with alarming results: Nearly 80% of business owners would consider sabotaging their competitor’s websites in order to gain rankings on their own website. This means that business owners are paying unethical SEO agencies to build bad backlinks to their competitor’s websites rather than focusing on performing good tactics to their own.

Maybe it is the Eagle Scout in me, but the thought that this could be happening is appalling.

This leaves me with two choices: Either join in and do this for my clients, or develop a plan of action that can quickly identify if this is happening to the brands I represent. Being as I do believe in Karma to a certain extent, I am going with option B.

The threat of negative SEO is very real, and unfortunately, it is just something that has to be dealt with. Below are 3 tactics that can be used to identify the problem, and how to react in the event that this should happen to you.

1. Be on constant alert

There are many tools that exist that allow business owners to monitor their backlink profile. One of which was developed by us and can be found here:

The other crucial step is to make sure you are validated in Google Webmaster Tools and that you are checking it daily. The function exists to view your latest backlinks, which is something that can be used to catch bad links early.

You can access this function here:

SEO 2. Never stop producing great content

The old saying goes “Sometimes the best offense is a good defense.” This is a truth that currently exists in SEO. By consistently producing fresh content, you are sending the signal to Google that you are interested in being a thought leader, and in producing great content, you tip the scales in your favor in comparison to the negative links.

3. Never stop acquiring great backlinks

It may be an odd concept to continue the effort to build links if links are the problem in the first place. However, it is known that valuable links outweigh the value-less links that may exist. It is even possible to recover from the effects of the Penguin Algorithm Update by consistently acquiring quality back links. This is the concept of Quality vs. Quantity.

At the end of the day, the best action that you can take is being hyper analytical and alert when reviewing your website. We all know that SEO is not a set it and forget it marketing practice, and this revelation further confirms it.

I can proudly say that we are a couple weeks out from announcing a new tool to combat this action so once that is live, we will update the world.

Until then, have you ever experienced Negative SEO? What kind of impact did it have on your website’s organic presence?

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