Why Negative SEO is Different to Black Hat SEO
Firstly, negative SEO is something that is relatively new to me as I have never so much as dabbled in what it is about. I’m a perfectionist and like to do things the ‘right’ way.
But more recently negative SEO has gained traction in the headlines (well, the SEO ones anyway) as a result of the recent algorithmic changes Google has been making over the last few weeks.
So what is negative SEO?
Negative is the process of targeting a particular competitor website in a way that can see their positions drop so you gain positions without risking your own site. Pretty dark stuff and is worrying for all business owners that get a portion of their business from Google.
‘Black hat SEO’ is uses techniques that simply find loopholes within the Google ranking algorithm and exploit these areas for gain, whether in rankings or PageRank – often for financial gain. These methods are against Google’s guidelines and can often work for a short period of time until Google catches up, although isn’t a long-term strategy like ‘white hat SEO’.
There are many ways that a competitor can ‘damage’ a website; submitted overly positive reviews to Google Places in bulk, contacting the publishers of some of your most valuable links and suggesting to them that your site is considered to infringe on copyright and should be removed, stealing content from your site before Google finds it, paid linking etc.
Although this is worrying and can happen to anyone, there are methods that I’ve discussed previously about re-indexing your site or submitting reconsideration requests directly to Google making them aware of the problem.
Although negative SEO isn’t a set list of processes or techniques (dark SEO folk simply target and exploit a site’s weaknesses) the best method for preventing such an attack is to keep a close eye on everything that happens to your site; track referrals from unfamiliar sites which will help identify new links quicker than backlink analysis tools, build up a strong domain authority, keep an open and honest relationship with those that do link to you, check for content being duplicated elsewhere across the web and maybe also look at blocking malicious IP addresses from crawling your site – just be careful not to inadvertently block Google from crawling your site.