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Negative SEO Attacks: What Are They and The Consequences?

By | Sep 20th, 2013 08.57 AM | View all posts in Blog Tips & Tricks

Every time we talk about SEO, it’s always about ways to increase visibility in search results and about increasing organic traffic.

“Little do we know that the exact same expertise used to help websites gain visibility could very easily take the website down.”

Negative SEO

It all comes down to the intentions of the SEO veteran. Consequently, it’s about 100 times easier to take a website down than it is to get the website to move up in search results.

So why would someone want to take down your website rankings? Almost every Negative SEO Attack is intentional. It’s rarely the case that something like that would happen unintentionally. How does it work? The exact reverse of all best practice SEO. One of the most commonly found SEO attack wherein a keyword competitor build thousands and millions of low quality link from spam websites for a single anchor text in as short a period as 1 day to a week to a single page of your website. The next time Google’s spider visits your website and caches it, your website would shows an unnatural link profile and may very likely trigger an automatic penalty.

Sometime, SEO attackers go as far as send in manual complaints after having built up low quality unnatural links to your website for which you would be looking at a manual penalty. Manual penalties are very difficult to fix and reinstating your website after a manual penalty could take forever.

Negative SEO attacks are something to be wary about. In the past, it was about websites getting hacked, but as firewalls and security improves over time, taking down a competitor website to interrupt their business has become harder for those who do play dirty. SEO, as good as it sounds to do well for so called ‘free traffic’ and website visitors, consequently has no firewall and is an easier option to disable a competitor’s online business. This is a known problem and for many unfortunate websites, the effects could be devastating.

There are two types of attacks: A single attack for which the adverse effects are felt right away and a multiple attack for which a certain degree of attack is administered every 2 to 3 months. For the latter, the effect is long term ranking and visibility problems. And most of the time, the prey has no idea what is going on; ironically, attributing website search problems to the need for more SEO efforts.

Results of a Test on Negative SEO:

Negative SEO Test

How to avoid getting attached or recuperate after an attack? It’s first important to understand that an SEO attack is something that has been thought out and planned well, a strategy in itself by an SEO expert. There are many things you would attempt however, once an attack has happened, you would first need to understand the nature of the attack: what sort of SEO tactic was used behind the attack? The most common is a link bomb but there are many others including duplicate content dispersion and what not. So if the attack was staged by an SEO veteran, the not effective way to counter is in fact by another SEO veteran.

image source: tastyplacement.com

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