Google has said over and over gain in the past that websites couldn’t do much to a competitor site to bring down page rank. However, the language suddenly changed with Google’s Matt Cutts stating that negative SEO is somewhat possible but very difficult to achieve. Since search engines value natural links and positive SEO rather than paid links, a competitor site could take down other sites over time with spam links.
Last year, Tasty Placement even did a study on how to effectively use negative SEM on their own sites, just for fun. This infographic says it all.
However, like always, the rules changed. The link disavow tool was introduced in order to get rid of low quality links not produced by the site owner. In other words, to fight crime against those nasty competitors trying to bring down a site with negative SEO. Obviously, Google was paying attention to a big problem.
Now, the game has changed again. Google is backstepping slightly to adjust their former stance, but they are only saying that they work hard to prevent competitors from using negative SEO. It was all explained in changes made to the ”Can Competitors Harm Ranking?” page, which includes a helpful video on SEO strategy.
While Google accepting that there is a problem is a big step forward, it’s also publicly putting out a new strategy for all webmasters to consider. Should negative SEO be used? It’s a question for competitors that may strike concern or glee depending on which evil mask you wear.
Negative SEO can be harmful for any site, and most webmasters who are in the know have dealt with these issues in all different forms. It’s important to watch your backlinks, clean up negative links and alert Google to any negative SEO with the disavow tool.