Sometimes it helps to put the rationale behind negative SEO attacks into perspective. On occasion, one can imagine that a disagreement between adults boils over into something that’s placed online for the world to see, regardless of whether the info has basis in truth.

One such hypothetical example comes to mind:

John is consoling his friend, Lars, whose ex business partner has been spreading rumors about him online. He has just been called into his boss’s office and confronted with the rumors, which the boss saw online. Lars’ boss believed his side of the story, but pulled him off a big campaign because the client also saw the rumors and is nervous about being associated with Lars.

John: I can’t believe that someone would spread these rumors about you. It’s not fair.

Lars: I know, it’s been really tough. I don’t know what to do.

John: Well, have you considered confronting the person who started the rumors? Maybe you can get them to retract their statements.

Lars: I don’t think that will work. They’re really stubborn and they hate me for some reason.

John: Okay, then maybe we can try something else. Have you heard of negative SEO?

Lars: Negative SEO? What’s that?

John: It’s when you try to lower the search engine rankings of a particular website or page. If the rumors are on a website, we can use negative SEO to bury them on the search results page. That way, fewer people will see them.

Lars: Is that even legal?

John: Well, it’s not really illegal, but it’s frowned upon by some people. But in your situation, I think it’s worth considering. We need to do something to fight back against these rumors and negative SEO might be our best option.