Negative SEO is a process that typically entails pointing a large amount of low-quality spam links to a particular website or webpage in hopes to get trigger a manual or algorithmic penalty for the targeted website or webpage. Google claims their algorithm is smart enough to know whether or not a negative SEO attack is happening and in many cases, the negative SEO attack could help you – is that true?
Recently, I’ve come across two websites that were being targeted for a negative SEO attack. The first website was a unflattering website a former employee put up about their employer. The employer hired a ‘black hat’ to perform a negative SEO attack against the website. That attack resulted in around 50,000 links being pointed at the offending website in a very short amount of time which ultimately ended up helping the site, drastically.
The second site I reviewed had an attack that was several years in the making with sporadic link jumps with random anchors. The SEO for that particular website was aware of the attack and regularly added the offending links to their disavow. After dozens of rounds of disavow updates, the website finally still got a manual action from Google. After that, we continued to disavow spammy links while we created our case with Google and showed that the bulk of the ‘unnatural links’ were due to negative SEO while listing the steps we took to mitigate it and ensure it doesn’t get out of hand in the future. Several months later, the action was removed.
Negative SEO does work – it works great when executed correctly. When it’s executed poorly, situations like the first scenario happens which results in more work, and more expensive to remove.