If you are in the SEO world, you would have heard people talk about negative SEO. Google’s head of web spam team Matt Cutts has released a video on this topic that I’m sharing with you below.
The definition of negative SEO goes along the lines of: a competitor or another third party posting incoming links to your website from dodgy websites hoping that search engines would pick up on it and penalise your website. In Google’s case, they may send you an email saying that your linking footprint looks ‘unnatural’. Current message looks something like this:
Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links to http://www.yourwebsite.com/
We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Google Search Quality Team
Now there are two ways this could have happened:
- the site owner or the webmaster of the website bought links or participated in link schemes or
- a competitor or another 3rd party did it to hurt your website.
Most (read all) webmasters and site owners would not admit to any wrong doing which is where this concept of negativeSEO comes in handy where it is possible that ‘someone else’ participated in buying links or illegal link schemes to hurt your website. I personally don’t think it happens much at all as it is a lot easier to do the right thing and work on your own SEO than spending time and money to hurt another site owner.
However, whatever the case is, Google has introduced the new tool known as disavow tool. This is where the site owner can log on to the webmaster tools console, review the links and disavow low quality links.
So is negative SEO ever so present and widespread in my opinion? I don’t think it is.
See what Matt Cutts has to say about negative SEO and disavow links tool.