Negative SEO is being debated at large in the blogosphere. People are still unsure regarding the possibility of Negative SEO. Some are of the view that a site cannot be harmed irrespective of spam backlinks pointed deliberately. Contravene to it, others have proven the possibility of bringing the SERPs of several sites down.
Is there any proof?
SEOmoz ran an article about Rand Fishkin allowing the site to be targeted by spammers. There was a discussion at trafficplanetforum. Two members named pixelgrinder and jammy alleged that they had successfully executed negative SEO on two sites ‘seofaststart.com’ and ‘negativeseo.me’. Their achievement (cough) was hailed by many. It was at this time that Rand Fishkin happily allowed SEOmoz to be targeted.
SEOmoz remained unharmed and without any change in organic traffic. The other two sites, however, seofaststart.com and negativeseo.me suffered fall in ranking for certain keywords. Dan of seofaststart.com sought help in Google Webmasters for spam links pointing at his site. This clearly shows that the site was affected. Although later Dan claimed, the rankings regained.
Why SEOmoz remained unharmed?
It is a site of great authority. It will probably take months and billions of spam links in bringing down the SERPs for SEOmoz. Unfortunately, not every blogger has such authority site. We are talking about sites that are created everyday by normal users. These users either have the basic knowledge of SEO or are completely ignorant about it. They are disciples of ‘white hat techniques’. They build a site, write interesting content, and wait for someone to link. In short, a regular site is an easy target.
How badly can Negative SEO hurt my site?
Show me your friend and I will tell about you.
It is a well-known fact that birds of same feather flock together. The same can be applied to the virtual world. The kinds of links gained through various sites are your neighbors or friends. If they have high authority over the subject, the affect will be minimal. Contrary to that, if you resort to black hat tricks and link to several low authority spammy sites then the downfall will be sooner and stronger.
How to remove any backlinks that appears as spam?
As per my knowledge, there are three ways to remove any spam backlinks.
1) Write to the Webmaster:
In most cases, negative SEO is done as a part of experiment. Some SEO specialists might find your site attractive and might say ‘Hey! Let us test how this site reacts to spam backlinks’. They are just trying to prove their point. Sadly, your site has become their target.
Once you spot incoming links through a domain try contacting the webmaster. Generally, there will be a contact form and request to remove the links. Try to be as formal as possible and never resort to rudeness. If you are lucky, the links will be removed upon your request.
2) Report the links:
Thanks to Matt Cutts that we can now report any spam links to Google. It is easy and all you need is to login into your Google Webmasters. Just send a message as such and such links from so and so domain are spam, which are affecting your ranking. Another way to reach Matt is through Twitter (@mattcutts). Scream over twitter and not only him but also a whole bunch of people will hear and some might come to help.
3) Dilute the Links:
Sometimes, the world around seems unfair and you are on your own. It is possible that no help is extended from Google (though I must say it is highly impossible) or others. At such instances, the only way is to dilute the spam links. How can I dilute millions of links? Do not worry; Google does not consider every link pointed from a domain.
For example, let us take that site A has targeted site B with 1 million links. Google will consider only five or ten links. In that case, if ten sites were used to spam then you have to dilute just 100 links. No matter how big the extent of spam link is, it can be easily diluted with little patience and hard work.
To conclude, Negative SEO can be fought back. Moreover, this is the just the beginning and search engines will surely have a way to combat it. In the meantime, just follow the basic rule of SEO, as it is not a onetime shot but a progressive approach.
Have you been hit by Negative SEO ?