What Is Negative SEO? Definition of Negative SEO
Negative search engine optimization is not that common but it is not unheard of either. A true case of negative SEO is rare. Many times it is a search engine optimization or internet marketing strategy that goes wrong. As a result, a website may be penalized and the owner or the webmaster might presume that they are under attack. One of the first thoughts that cross the mind is an attempt by competitors to bring the website down. This is absolutely plausible. There are always vested interests and competitors may contemplate upon a negative SEO campaign. However, a negative search engine optimization campaign is not that easy to plan or executive. It takes a lot of time, serious effort and plenty of resources to successfully execute negative SEO.
There could be many reasons behind your plummeting search engine ranking. It may not be due to negative SEO. Anything might go wrong in your optimization strategy. Other websites in your niche may be doing well and hence might be getting rewarded by Google and Bing. Your search engine optimization strategy does not get implemented in isolation. What others are doing will also weigh on your ranking.
One of the most common causes of negative SEO is bad backlinks. This may not be intentional at all. A website will have bad links in due course of time. Some of these bad links may be unintentionally generated by the webmaster or those working on the optimization of a website. Other bad links may simply be spam. As a website operates and continues to develop new links, there will be others who will be linking to different pages and hence contents. Not all these links generated by other websites will be of great quality. It is possible for irrelevant and unrelated websites to link to your content. Some of these websites may be in another industry. Many of these websites could be flagged for spam and may be riddled with malware. Search engines will penalize your website if it is linked too much with spammy and malware ridden websites.
The good news is that you will be notified if there is any manual penaty taken by Google or Bing among others. You will be told when your website has been taken off the search engine result pages, if it has been blacked out or just penalized due to malware, spam and other issues. You can take corrective actions to undo the adverse effects. All you have to do is get rid of the bad links. You should assess the hundreds of links you perceive to be bad and then extensively assess if they are actually hurting your optimization campaign. Not all links that are perceived to be bad may actually hamper your rankings. Some links may be useful. You should not get rid of good links or those that are presumed to be bad. Abrupt junking of hundreds of links, if not thousands, may not augur well for your website.
Negative SEO may be a result of aggressive search engine optimization campaigns when a webmaster tries to build backlinks using other websites and marketers. The other websites and various sources may employ methods that are not strictly regulated and such attempts may end up creating bad links. This is an inadvertent mistake. Such errors should be corrected sooner than later. It is worthwhile to ask websites and marketers to explain how they intend to generate the links you have requested for your site. This way you can avoid spam, malware and inferior quality links to your website.
Your website may be hacked and it could be taken off the search pages. This is not always negative SEO but you do need countermeasures. Too many bad links should be disavowed and you must request the webmasters for them to be taken down. Notify Google and Bing that these links have nothing to do with your website or your search engine optimization campaign. Work on countermeasures rather than how exactly the negative SEO may have come about.