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Barryonline

Has Google just confirmed negative SEO is possible?

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Google has updated this webmaster help page named "can competitors harm ranking?"

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It was updated on: 05/22/2012

Before the page was updated it said: "There’s almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index."

It has now been changed to read: "Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index."

Google choose to program their algorithm to penalize sites for inbound links, instead of just ignoring "bad" links – How is that "working hard to prevent"competitors from harming a sites ranking?

Edited by Barryonline

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Good find Barry - very good find. Google "work hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking" is just like when governments say they "work hard to improve job prospects and the economy" - when organizations say they "work hard" it's often an admission to something they're failing to cope with...

I don't expect the next video of Matt Catts - with his "calm as Hindu cows" voice - to mention negative SEO.

Edited by colourofspring

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It can be done. Its going to be quite hard to catch aswell.

The best defense is to regularly check your backlinks with opensiteexplorer and ahrefs, this way if you start spotting bad links you can use prevatative measures to save your website.

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well i'm giving this reporting link a try. we got the wmt notice, and a huge drop in serps for a few keywords, started about 8 wks ago. we're a small biz, over 20 yrs old, industrial products. we'd been comfortably on the top 1-3 pages for many of our keywords for years. until early march, when the top 3 dropped about 100 spots...and another dozen dropped about 50 places.

on inspecting wmt and using other link tools, we noticed two sites have lots of links on them, to our money site. one site has about 3700 links, the other about 1800 links. none created by us. our site total links more than doubled, with the addition of these 5500. and since they appeared in a very short time and most of them - over 4500 total - were directed to our home page, with one key word, they were noticed rather quickly...

luckily, there are over 100 keywords we rank for - (we're an industrial store site, lots of products.) naturally, they picked the top keywords, so it hurts a lot, but is survivable - at least, short term.

one of the linking sites is just an ip address, and i cant get it to resolve at all. the other appears to be an industrial directory, with lots of listings - no visible way to add a listing, contact anyone, or complain.

we had done some article marketing with the typical publishers, including bmr, so i thought that was the problem at first. little did i know, but someone is clearly "google bowling" in our niche. several competitors hit too. a bit hard to track who's dropped and who hasn't, with all of the penguins and pandas mixing it all up too :wacko:

thanks for the link, terry, i agree with you that it is unlikely to help - luckily in this case, they used a pretty crude method, rather than a shotgun blast with xrumer or something similar, so G may be willing to ignore the two sets of links. i had complained to G before via wmt, but they didn't react. mb getting the actual websites to the spam team will trigger something - it sure can't hurt us anymore. I will post if it helps at all.

Edited by seon00b

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I'm not sure where I read this, but I read a case study a week or two back that confirmed that Negative seo can be done on a website and that google has a hard time stopping it.

I think the best way to stop negative SEO would be to contact google themseves if you realize that your starting to get really poor backlinks that appear to be spammy

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... google has a hard time stopping it.

Google can stop it immediately if the make a change in the algorithm to STOP passing negative value from bad links, and by NOT penalizing pages with over optimized inbound anchor text. They would prefer to allow negative SEO (and it's consequences) in order to do what they can to take down those who they feel are gaming the system.

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Although Google are trying to target SEO's/people that game the system. All they have actually done is make the system easier to game with negative SEO. Certainly a lot easier to go from position #5 to position #1 now, it takes 10 minutes tops to setup a negative seo campaign against as many targets as you want.

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Exactly, all you have to do is find a niche that Amazon or other big brand sites are not ranking in. Then just take the competition off the first page.

Its what Google wants.

They can change their algo at anytime to not allow NSEO but they are not. They are going even further with it and encouraging "snitching".

Anonymous snitching never works out well.

Ask all the families that lived under communist rule how "snitching" effected their society/community.

FEAR SEO EMBRACE PPC

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Exactly, all you have to do is find a niche that Amazon or other big brand sites are not ranking in. Then just take the competition off the first page.

I've certainly noticed more big brands in top 10 SERPs since March this year - domain authority is really dialled up. I suppose Google will penalise the occasional brand like JC Penney to show they're "on the ball", but all-in-all, they like the big brands and even if they penalise them, it's usually a 90 day thing, not permanent.

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Exactly, all you have to do is find a niche that Amazon or other big brand sites are not ranking in. Then just take the competition off the first page.

Good luck with that, lol. There will always be 10 sites on page one for all but the most obscure keywords. Every site you get removed will simply be replaced by another....and some of those replacement sites might even be better than than the sites they replaced.

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Good luck with that, lol. There will always be 10 sites on page one for all but the most obscure keywords. Every site you get removed will simply be replaced by another....and some of those replacement sites might even be better than than the sites they replaced.

He means if you're 7th for a keyword, blast a couple of sites above you with dodgy links and you'll move to 5th on the next Penguin refresh - that kind of thing. Of course you're not going to do neg. SEO if you're on page 10 for the reasons of SEO - but then again, there's many reasons why someone might attacked a site:-

- you got fired from the company

- you had bad personal service from the company

- you find them unethical, therefore "fair game" to SEO

- any number of issues that give someone a personal vendetta against a company

- you're paid by someone to neg. SEO a company they have a personal vendetta against

While neg.SEO is easy to do, you don't need to worry about a motive.

Edited by colourofspring

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Actually what I was meaning is: put the 5 sites that are above you on a NSEO HPBL net of 20 or 30 sites for a week. Then delete a few of their links from all the 20-30 sites at the same time showing Gbot exactly what you are doing. Within 4-6 weeks your NSEO HPBL net will be deindexed and those 5 sites above you will go to the dark nether regions of the G monster, allowing your site an easy ascent to more clicks and profitability.

Not saying anyone should use NSEO, but it is obvious now that this is what Google wants.

What do the SEO Gurus always say?

Just give Google what it wants. Lol

Edited by RealEcon

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...for those of us who soley rely on organic traffic from Google.

Really time to rethink that as a business strategy. If nothing else the last few months should have been a wake up call to not put all your eggs in the Google basket.

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Negative SEO is real, but don't ever expect Google to admit it. Doing so would be corporate suicide. One of the key components an investor looks for is the company's public reputation. If Google admitted their algorithm can be utilized negatively to purposely harm an organization, the public and media would turn against them, and so will their investors. Having that said, perhaps the most effective form of negative SEO would be against large corporations, for they have the capital, clout and capability to get Google's attention much more effectively than the little noise made from us small business owners. Although I'm not an advocate of negative SEO, it could be the downfall for Google if the mainstream media informs the public and business community how its search engine is being used to destroy businesses.

Edited by richm

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To me, this is them admitting it.

"Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index."

They say they work hard to prevent it, which means it can be done. If something can't be done you don't need to work hard to prevent it.

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Google can stop it immediately if the make a change in the algorithm to STOP passing negative value from bad links, and by NOT penalizing pages with over optimized inbound anchor text. They would prefer to allow negative SEO (and it's consequences) in order to do what they can to take down those who they feel are gaming the system.

You just summed up the panda/penguin update in 2 sentences. Well done.

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I just got into seo about 10 months ago and now that all this nseo ***** can happen, I'm working on alternative ways to earn an income online. Building up a brand through other traffic sources, like forums, guest posting and maby occasional NON Google ppc when I can afford it.

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