The rise of negative SEO

Posted on October 27, 2012

 

With Google coming under orders from the EU to revise its privacy policy, it seems the search engine giant is still facing a period of unrest over its performance.

It is not just in its protection of people’s information that it is coming under fire though; many business owners are still worried about its handling of search results.

Though not a new phenomenon, it does seem that such attacks are on the rise. Many have argued that the reason for the increase can be directly linked to the aggressive stance Google is taking on the manipulation of search engine rankings.

Those using negative SEO create dubious, poorly constructed and keyword stuffed content, planting it throughout the internet. Google then crawls it, decides it is intended to manipulate its algorithm, and thereby penalises the site.

Despite the site targeted not placing the content itself, there seems to be little recourse available. It is also something likely only to affect mid-sized companies, with larger organisations often having the clout and presence to avoid being penalised.

What compounds the issue is that it is difficult to trace back and find who is planting this over-optimised content. Worse still, there is nothing that can be done until Google has enacted a penalty notice. Even then, proving that an attack has taken place is difficult.

There are, however, certain steps that companies can take to improve the situation. The use of professional digital agencies and a robust cataloguing of their SEO strategies and implementations can often help.

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