What is Negative SEO and Why is it Used?

negative seo

Negative SEO is a process used to attack websites and cause their pages to move down in the SERPS. Very successful negative SEO campaigns can even result in the attacked site being removed from the Google index. Either way, the targeted site can see a severe reduction in traffic. Websites without traffic generate no profit so effective negative SEO attacks can be the kiss of death to even the most reputable sites.


Why Do People Employ Negative SEO Techniques?

There are many reasons why someone may wish to attack a site by using negative SEO methods. It could be due to something as simple as spite or jealousy, but such attacks are more commonly attributed to the owner of a competing site having the desire to wipe out the competition.


Black Hat SEO

Many webmasters and online business owners have been employing black hat SEO methods for a long time. They have bought or placed hundred (or thousands) of low-quality links, built cloaked pages, and adopted many other practices that contravene Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They’ve got away with it too—until now. Google’s search engine algorithms are becoming ever more sophisticated, so black hat SEO techniques no longer work, and sites that have previously benefited from such tactics can now see their traffic destroyed by the same methods that used to give it a boost.

It may no longer be as easy to push a site up through the SERPS by using black hat methods, but Google’s war against spam has made it much easier for devious webmasters to use those same black hat SEO techniques to drag competing sites down through the SERPS, thus allowing their own sites to rise to the top.


3 Common Negative SEO Techniques

  • Building hundreds (perhaps thousands) of spammy links to the attacked site.
  • Linking into the site using keywords like “online poker” and “Viagra” in the anchor text.
  • Scraping content from the attacked site and replicating it all over the internet so it loses its value (no longer unique).


Can You Fight a Negative SEO Attack?

New and less popular sites are more vulnerable to negative SEO tactics than older sites that have amassed an abundance of quality (natural) links, but persistence can pay off and successful high-traffic sites in profitable niches may be more likely to fall victim to negative SEO attacks than smaller less popular sites in low-profit niches.

The good news is webmasters can fight back, but it helps if defensive manoeuvres are commenced as quickly as possible, so savvy webmasters should always be monitoring for such attacks. We’ll provide some tips on this in the next article.

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About Author

Donal O'Sullivan

Donal O'Sullivan

Donal O’Sullivan is a commercially focused Digital Marketer with 10+ years experience helping B2C & B2B clients. Donal has worked with many small to large enterprises locally and internationally and has a proven track record of driving revenue gains and brand awareness through integrated campaigns both Online & ATL. In his previous role Donal worked for AXA Insurance, Ireland’s leading Insurance company. He was responsible for the strategic and day-to-day management of the AXA brand for business generation in their online channels. Donal lives and breathes digital and will help you identify real opportunities by concentrating on data driven analysis to guide commercially focused marketing and optimisation decisions across:      Acquisition, Conversion & Retention

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