What should you do when a competitor (or extortionist) threatens to use negative SEO to demote your website’s standing on Google? This is a question that more than one internet-based business owner has had to asked him or herself.
Google’s infamous Panda update was meant to do away with spammy websites that had earned a high ranking on Google by buying tens of thousands of links from link farms. However, it has also begun to give rise to a whole new form of negative SEO. Competitors can now create tens of thousands of spammy links to your website and stand back and watch as Google demotes your site’s standing on the web. Extortionists can threaten to create spammy links unless they are paid a hefty sum of money. While Google note that not many extortionists actually follow through on their threats, this news does not provide much consolation to business owners who have to decide whether or not to pay someone off or risk losing their hard-earned PageRank.
Thankfully, there is things you can do to protect your website from being unfairly penalized. Google’s Matt Cutts recommends using the disavow tool to disavow any bad links to your site. This handy tool can be used to disavow not only URLs but also entire domain names. Additionally, at least one SEO expert strongly advises businessmen and women ignore those who threaten to build bad links to your site unless they are paid a lot of money, as the vast majority of these individuals fail to follow through on their threats.
Unfortuntely, it seems like negative SEO is not only here to stay but also has the potential to do a lot of damage to a website’s standing with Google. At the same time, webmasters do not have to throw up their hands in despair and feel as if all is lost. Those who play by Google’s rules can simply check Google Webmaster Tools for signs of suspicious activity and disavow any bad links that may have been built.
By Jacob Maslow