Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Negative SEO: What You Need to Know

Negative SEO--the practice of harming another site's search engine rankings--has been getting a lot of press in SEO circles recently. The well-respected site, SEO Roundtable, even conducted a poll and 75% of the respondents agreed: "Negative SEO is Easier" thanks to Google's most recent algorithm updates.

If you're interested in the details, WebProNews, has posted a detailed article with quite a few links to various articles and forums that have debated the viability of the nefarious practice. And the consensus seems to match the SEO Roundtable poll: Negative SEO is now certainly easier.

The problem seems to be Google's recent practice of penalizing companies for bad incoming links--links from disreputable or spammy sites. Unfortunately, it's impossible to entirely control bad incoming links--and so, theoretically, your website could be "attacked" by negative SEO.

Now, the very existence of bad links stems from the earliest days of SEO, when Google's algorithm placed a high priority on the quantity of incoming links. Black Hat SEOs took advantage of the algorithm by creating link-building schemes. These schemes took on many forms, but the most basic version looked something like this:

A primary website created multiple other websites--sometimes ten or many, many more--all owned and operated by the primary website for the explicit purpose of creating incoming links. With an abundance of incoming links, the primary website favored well in the Google rankings.

The Penguin Algorithm was created, in part, to combat this type of abuse. At the time, Google clarified its definition of a "bad" or "artificial" link: “Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme.”

Since Penguin, it wasn't the quantity of links that improved your site but the quality. This seemed to be a good sign. As we wrote in a previous post, "Bad Links? Bad News!":

"Many SEO specialists lamented the change. Some even wondered: "Is link-building dead?" At the time, however, The Organic SEO Blog (and its sponsor, Stepmans PC) rejoiced! After all, the purpose of the new algorithm, to punish those websites and SEO specialists that built bad or artificial links, could only advance the work of the SEO specialists who had played by the rules and built links based on relationships, integrity, and quality content."

With Penguin, a site could not improve its performance by creating multiple incoming links. Unfortunately, successive updates have seemingly made it easier to do the opposite: to harm a site's performance by creating multiple incoming links.

So what does this mean for you?

Websites both large and small can easily be harmed by incoming links. And if you think your website is too small, think again. You might be surprised by the links spammers have created to your site--links built explicitly to create traffic to reputable sites. More then ever, now's the time to contact a reputable link removal service or quality SEO specialist, like Stepmans PC.

With apologies to class bad guy actor, Lee Van Cleef, we offer a PSA from The Organic SEO Blog: don't let Black Hat SEO destroy your site's rankings.

Now is also a great time to take advantage of Stepman PC's FREE Website Audit.

If your website is under-performing, Stepmans PC’s Organic Website Optimization Audit will clarify the exact elements of your website that require improvement--including bad incoming links!

As apart of the audit, Stepmans PC will provide a detailed report showing you the quality and quantity of your links.

Now, in May, Alex Stepman offered this FREE audit to the first ten companies to respond--and the response was overwhelming. So Alex has decided to open the valuable FREE service to ten more companies. To take advantage of this limited time offer, call Stepmans PC now: 215-900-9398 or complete the form on Stepmans PC's website.