Sunday, February 16, 2014

Negative SEO

What happens if an unscrupulous competitor—posing as you—decides to try to gain an edge by buying lots of links on a "bad neighborhood" or a link farm?

The answer is "no one knows," which is scary.

I've always wondered why Google chooses to give signals from questionable sites, any weight. Based on emails they send to Webmasters who violate the (always changing) rules, Google is clearly aware of who these questionable sites are, yet they place the burden on the site they're penalizing, whether that Webmaster has purchased links or not.

I guess I missed that memo where it was explained that Google—in its infinite wisdom—was to police the Internet and issue tickets to those who broke the unpublished speed limit. In addition to tickets, they could also remove your site from circulating on their private highways by removing it from their index.

You would be able to request a "hearing" of sorts if you asked those bad sites to remove the links, and if they did not comply, you should explain that part in your request for Google to remove the penalties imposed on your site.

Again, if Google knows which are the "bad" sites, they could easily stop giving them any credit, unless they want to make darn sure that those who choose to do business with these bad seeds, suffer the consequences for their actions.

But what happens if a particular site that has been accused of having links from a link farm, for example, did not purchase those links? This, in my opinion, leaves the field wide-open to those people with no shame or conscience who believe that in order to have the tallest building in town, they must burn everyone else's, and that's a horrible situation.

I have no proof that this kind of negative SEO is real but, from what I've read in the past, it is not only possible but probable.

More than a few things have to change and soon. Google with its lack of guidance continues to hurt many, and that has to stop.

Of course negative SEO is not limited to links bought on link farms and such. It can also include things such as bad reviews, scraping content, and much more.

Even though the "www" acronym is usually used to identify the World Wide Web, sometimes it feels like the Wild Wild West.