Defining Negative SEO

What is Negative SEOEveryone who owns a business knows that their online presence is significant. This relies heavily on SEO to get you to the top of the SERPs pages where people will start to take notice of who you are and what you offer.

One thing people don’t realize though is that SEO falls into two categories today. These include:

  • Positive SEO includes tactics that are performed to positively impact your rankings in regard to your URL and domain. They’re performed by manipulation links, content, and other such areas.
  • Negative SEO is just the opposite. It includes tactics that are performed to negatively impact your URL and domain. These are performed by manipulating variables in your links, content, and user signal buckets.

Negative SEO in Action

When it comes to negative SEO, there are some well-known techniques people use:

  • Sending tens of thousands of bad links to a targeted URL is something most people wouldn’t consider “hacking” but it’s definitely not positive SEO.
  • When someone spams your content in hopes of shifting its theme or on-page keyword usage, they’ll change your website’s look and feel. This is hacking when it’s done either automatically or on a large scale. If there’s content that’s meant to be commented on here, it really isn’t hacking, it’s a content management system (CMS) flaw. However, this becomes hacking when the keyword stuffing happens within the CMS itself.
  • Hotlinking your competitor’s biggest images in an attempt to eat up their bandwidth, trigger a “bandwidth exceeded” issue or slow down their website isn’t hacking unless there’s malicious intent.
  • Inserting randomly distributed reflective denial-of-service attacks is another form of hacking.

What Negative SEO is and is Not

The reason why it’s so important whether this is hacking is because it determines a person’s intent. Beyond this, there are a few other things you need to understand:

  • Google believes that almost everything is a type of “black hat” technique. This is because they define the term as any user who operates on any type of experience instead of following their written terms of service (TOS). As such, this is a type of black hat.
  • Some people also consider it a type of hacking. This is because they share some of the same characteristics even though they’re not exactly the same thing. When you look up the term in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it speaks of a person who illegally gains access to a computer system and sometimes tampers with its information. Depending on where you’re from, the jurisdiction you’re in may take a stricter approach while others have a more laissez-faire attitude.
  • This form of extortion isn’t new, but its legalities are more hotly debated recently. With this in mind, you should know that it’s only “illegal” when it’s closely related to hacking.

What Google Says About Negative SEO

According to Google, this isn’t real. Unfortunately, Google isn’t being completely honest here. It’s only logical that if you can accidentally hurt your rankings by shifting a variable, an external entity can do the same thing. Of course, Google does try to prevent certain tactics from causing too much damage, but they’re not perfect.

Regardless of what Google says, it’s important to realize that negative SEO is real, and it happens a lot – especially now that there are a lot of platforms like Amazon in existence. There’s intense competition within certain product categories and people are willing to do whatever it takes to rise to the top there.

Whether you want to believe Google or someone else here is up to you. However, there is one thing you can’t afford to ignore: how well your website is doing in the SERPs. To improve this you’ll want to employ Affordable SEO Company – a company with years of experience putting positive SEO to work and gaining great results for their clients.