If you’re the victim of an online attack, either in the form of damaging articles, fake reviews, or other harmful info in the search results, read on. When most people hear about negative SEO, they assume the worst. Some think it refers to the practice of using search engine optimization techniques to harm a competitor’s website ranking in search results.

However, there are cases when people fall victim to hurtful and untrue info published about them or their business online, and are helpless to remove it from search results. Unlike traditional SEO that aims to improve a site’s visibility, negative SEO focuses on damaging the target site’s credibility and search engine performance.

Common tactics used in negative SEO attacks include:

  1. Bad Backlinks: One of the most prevalent negative SEO tactics is building unnatural or “spammy” backlinks to the target site. This involves creating thousands of low-quality links from questionable websites, often using link farms or interconnected groups of sites solely for linking purposes. The goal is to make it appear that the target site is engaging in manipulative link-building practices, potentially triggering search engine penalties.
  2. Duplicate Content: Attackers may scrape content from the target site and republish it across multiple domains without permission. This can dilute the original site’s search visibility and potentially lead to duplicate content issues.
  3. Fake Reviews and Social Profiles: Competitors may create fake social media profiles or post negative reviews to damage the target site’s online reputation. We do not advocate or practice this approach, which can involve setting up accounts on platforms like Facebook or Twitter using the company’s name and publishing harmful content.
  4. Hacking and Content Modification: This is obviously illegal, and a horrible way to deal with a problem online. In these cases, attackers might attempt to hack the target website to modify content, inject malicious code, or even take the site offline. It’s rare that these ‘hackers’ are legitimate, and more often than not, they’re just opportunists looking for a way to take advantage of desperate people.
  5. Link Removal: Another tactic involves reaching out to websites that legitimately link to the target site, posing as the site owner, and requesting removal of valuable backlinks. In 99% of cases, site owners will ignore such requests, and in the rare case they respond, they will want proof of identity.

The impact of negative SEO on website rankings and online reputation can be significant:

It’s important to note that while negative SEO is a real threat, its effectiveness has diminished over time as search engines have become more sophisticated[4]. Google, for instance, has implemented measures to identify and ignore many types of manipulative links. However, vigilance is still crucial, especially for smaller or newer websites that may be more vulnerable to such attacks[4].

To protect against negative SEO, website owners should:

By understanding negative SEO tactics and implementing proactive measures, website owners can better safeguard their online presence and maintain their hard-earned search engine rankings.

[1] https://aioseo.com/negative-seo/
[2] https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/negative-seo
[3] https://www.smartbugmedia.com/blog/what-is-negative-seo
[4] https://seo.co/negative-seo/
[5] https://www.seo.com/blog/seo-attack/