Before discussing Negative SEO techniques we need to understand how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works. SEO promotes your content by increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic. So, this helps market your content across the internet.
However, what if it’s used for negative purposes? That’s what gives rise to negative SEO techniques. While there are many, we will focus on four of the most common negative SEO techniques.
What is Negative SEO?
These are processes often used to bring one’s content down in the rankings of search engine results. Negative SEO uses aggressive approaches to achieve this by spamming links, backlinking to irrelevant content via penalized private blog networks, or, on the darker side of things, leaving negative reviews, or hacking.
Negative SEO Technique #1: Spammy Backlinks
Negative SEO service can create spam anchor texts or bad backlinks to discredit and jeopardize how prominently content appears in search engines.
Let’s say there is an article or a fake review written about you or your business. Let’s imagine it was posted by a disgruntled employee and it now ranks well for your name or business in Google. Obviously, there’s no way to have it taken down, short of a court order. However, this is time-consuming, tedious, and costly. It is almost never successful since freedom of speech allows consumers to leave opinions of products and businesses (read more here).
A negative SEO service may then use private blog networks (PBNs) and software programs to create unrelated or toxic backlinks, which can generate and attach random low-quality links the article in question. People are free to post what they like, but they are not entitled to rank well for the given topic. For the person who wants to remove negative content, backlinks are just as much an expression of free speech as the article in question.
Negative SEO Technique #2: Duplicate Content
Another negative SEO technique that is common involves producing duplicate content and distributing it widely before it gets indexed. These scrapes take your content and disseminate it, either in order to get in indexed and get credit for it, or in order to water down the legitimacy of your content, making it appear to be the work of a sloppy SEO agency.
The rationale is to discredit the work. Case studies have shown this to be inconsistently effective, since content owners can simply use Google’s Online Copyright Infringement form to help.
Negative SEO Technique #3: Fake Reviews
Negative reviews about your business can discredit it and tarnish your image. Negative SEO attacks can also be used against fake reviews when someone intentionally leaves bad or poor reviews to bring down your business.
Bad reviews directly impact your SEO reputation because they give you low ratings. You can commonly identify this with a sudden drop in the ratings. While we do not provide a service like this, since it is illegal, we can work to hide and suppress negative reviews left by malicious parties. Sometimes, it involves creating an entirely new Google My Business profile and content.
Negative SEO Technique #4: URL Redirects
A redirect basically involves pointing one domain to resolve to another. If the domain being pointed is a domain with a bad reputation, perhaps having been penalized previously, it can pass along that same negative baggage to the site it redirects to.
Negative SEO presents a huge threat to all content. Even though there aren’t many ways to ensure protection against them, and it is extremely difficult to detect, it only makes up a small portion of SEO market activity.