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Hey guys, long time reader here and a topic I have seen in the winds recently is negative seo - which Id like to start a debate among Local SEOs.

Iv been doing a bit of research recently on this topic to see how a company could do negative seo on their competitors so I could figure out how I could protect a client from it.

My research shows me their is absolutely nothing you can do if the culprit is motivated enough - I mean nothing.

Negative SEO could bring a multi-million dollar business to the ground, spam their website so it gets de-indexed and then spam their listings with negative reviews - these two things could do the job and the only resource you would need is Fivver and $150...

There are other things you could do to make sure there website never sees another customer again that I wont go into - but I say this to prove a point, when you use the web to help build your "local" business your building it on a house of cards.

Which begs the question, do you see Negative SEO experts becoming the cool kid on the block in the near future, and will there be "underground" forums where disgruntle employees or competitors can go to pay someone who specializes in "Negative SEO".

To some this may be far fetched, but Im not so sure, from what I have learnt, I think everyone should be afraid.
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi markethealth02 and welcome.

I don't agree that negative SEO experts be more sexy than regular (local) SEOs soon and can't see them "becoming the cool kids on the block".
 

Phil Rozek

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@markethealth02

I?m with Linda. Sure, negative SEO is something to be aware of and a little concerned about. And it?s interesting line of conversation you?ve started.

But as with any other F?d-up thing someone can do, there are few people who actually <i>would</i> do it:

1. Most business owners and SEOs are honest and smart enough to know better.

2. The ones who are on the fence may also have a reputation that can be damaged forever by shenanigans like negative SEO.

3. Most of the ones who don?t have a reputation to uphold at least are smart enough to realize that someone else can whack them back twice as hard.

Could it happen, and does it occasionally? Sure. But I haven?t seen any evidence of negative local SEO with the 200+ business owners I?ve worked with. My two pennies is it?s overhyped.
 
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Thanks @Linda Buquet and @Phil Rozek for your input.

Maybe Im just paranoid, but Im sure Negative SEO specialists will become the norm just like SEO, PPC and Social Media Managers - how could it not?

Once businesses wake up to the fact that their life is online and can be damaged so easily and quickly, they will hire people for sure to keep a lid on that.

I agree normal people wont know how to perform Negative SEO on their competitors, but I can guarantee almost any regular SEO could under the right circumstances, which begs another question I didn't elude to in my first post which is:

"will/should SEOs either in-house or agency side be treated better than the rest or handled more delicately especially if you fire them?"

I mean with the knowledge I have now and given a scenario where I got fired from a job im almost certain id go all gangasta on the organizations brand and everyone in the executive suites names online - and have a field day too.

Which begs another question: "do SEOs have too much power?"

Google.com is the hub where everyone with the internet goes to to find information and the fact that SEOs have the ability to manipulate those search results is absolutely crazy.

I guess to summarize, our online identity both personally and business wise is way to fragile.

(Lets not forget Negative SEO can be done anonymously)
 

painperdu

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This does already happen in internet advertising in general.

Sometimes it happens on Craigslist where flag wars will render the section useless.

I think Google and others, and Craigslist too, are trying out solutions to help curb this.

Authorship rank and trust are playing larger roles in the signals used to filter documents.
 

Broland

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I feel this is a troll post. At any rate...

Negative SEO does work and does happen, but it is not nearly as easy as the OP made it out to be. $150 on fiverr to bring down a multi-million dollar company?:rolleyes:

There are hundreds of factors in ranking algorithms and tripping two or three filters is not enough to bring down or penalize any decent site. The truth of it is that the people who know enough to effectively perform negative SEO, also know enough to know that in almost every case, time, money and resources are better spent to positive SEO one site past all competitors than try to continuously negative SEO every competitor that comes along - and the competitors will keep coming.

That's morals, fear of ramifications and karma (if you believe in that sort of thing) aside.
 
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Which begs the question, do you see Negative SEO experts becoming the cool kid on the block in the near future, and will there be "underground" forums where disgruntle employees or competitors can go to pay someone who specializes in "Negative SEO".

There's been businesses that have sprung up to offer neg SEO services but it doesn't get much serious mention on forums.

Maybe Im just paranoid, but Im sure Negative SEO specialists will become the norm just like SEO, PPC and Social Media Managers - how could it not?

Because paying so someone else gets a negative ROI is a waste of money and nobody in the right state of mind would buy neg SEO services.

Once businesses wake up to the fact that their life is online and can be damaged so easily and quickly, they will hire people for sure to keep a lid on that.

That is called reputation management. 2 totally different things.

I mean with the knowledge I have now and given a scenario where I got fired from a job im almost certain id go all gangasta on the organizations brand and everyone in the executive suites names online - and have a field day too.

Pretty sure you're confusing negative SEO with reputation management at this point.

Which begs another question: "do SEOs have too much power?"

It depends on the SEO.
 
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Interesting topic. I've actually had a few clients ask me about negative SEO. They are always shocked that such a thing exists. Their reaction is two fold:

1. You mean I could really out due my competitor by simply doing negative SEO? To which I respond, "Yes, it's possible - and it wouldn't cost that much either to do." As the original poster says...you could do it with a handful of Fiverr gigs. And no, you couldn't bring down a multimillion dollar business with Fiverr gigs but you certainly could bring down a local mom and pop website.

2. You mean my competitor could actually do this to me too? To which I respond, "Yes, it's possible."

In the end, they are amazed by the concept of negative SEO but they don't take any action on it. In other words, they know it doesn't feel right so they don't act on it. I can't imagine a client calling me and telling me they want to nuke their competitor via negative SEO. And if I did get such a call, I wouldn't do it. Not only is it unethical, but I'm too fearful of the potential legal ramifications. I'm also a firm believer in karma;)

I don't think negative SEO will ever become "sexy" or a big business. It will always be "in the shadows" and only a few unethical business owners will partake in it.

Travis

P.S. The funny thing is, this entire negative SEO could be put to rest if Google just made one simple change. Instead of penalizing sites for bad links...why not just ignore bad links? I've never understood that. Google could easily tweak their algo but they don't. Instead of simply ignoring trashy links, they would rather punish sites for crappy links. It doesn't make much sense to me but what do I know?
 
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P.S. The funny thing is, this entire negative SEO could be put to rest if Google just made one simple change. Instead of penalizing sites for bad links...why not just ignore bad links? I've never understood that.

That's how it used to be and those were the glory days. You could blast the hell out of a site and get it to rank pretty easily.
 

Broland

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P.S. The funny thing is, this entire negative SEO could be put to rest if Google just made one simple change. Instead of penalizing sites for bad links...why not just ignore bad links? I've never understood that. Google could easily tweak their algo but they don't. Instead of simply ignoring trashy links, they would rather punish sites for crappy links. It doesn't make much sense to me but what do I know?

Because fear is the best way to control and motivate people.

Also, check this in relation to the dates of Penguin updates: https://www.google.com/finance?&chv...555200000&chddm=488359&q=NASDAQ:GOOG&&fct=big
 
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Andrew:

I think you're misunderstanding my comment. I'm saying that all Google would have to do is ignore spammy backlinks - as in give them ZERO credit. If a site had 50,000 spammy backlinks Google would count them as zero backlinks as if they didn't even exist. So instead of punishing a website, Google simply wouldn't rank it for anything because the site had zero backlinks.

The "glory days" were just the opposite. Google gave credit to just about any kind of backlink. I'm not suggesting we go back to those days. I'm suggesting that Google shouldn't punish websites for spammy links but Google shouldn't give them credit for them either.

If this were the case, negative SEO would be a non-factor.

Travis

That's how it used to be and those were the glory days. You could blast the hell out of a site and get it to rank pretty easily.
 
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I'm saying that all Google would have to do is ignore spammy backlinks. If a site had 50,000 spammy backlinks Google would count them as zero backlinks as if they didn't even exist. So instead of punishing a website, Google simply wouldn't rank it for anything because the site had zero backlinks.

Yes, in theory, that is how it was supposed to work. Remember, Google had a "links can do no harm" philosophy for many years. It was never possible for someone with malicious intent to crush your site.

The "glory days" were just the opposite. Google gave credit to just about any kind of backlink.

Not quite. The reason spam worked was because Google only detected a percentage of the links as spam and thus the ones that were questionable had no value...the % that got through and counted was the reason link building en masse worked.

The phrase "Throw shit at the wall and see what sticks" was a lot more common on webmaster forums back then lol.
 
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