Google’s New Stance On Negative SEO: “Works Hard To Prevent” It

Google’s admitted the possibility of “negative SEO” for years. But in the wake of the Penguin Update, some have claimed it’s now easier than ever. Does a new change by Google in its help pages acknowledge this?

Google’s admitted the possibility of negative SEO since at least 2007. On its help page, it previously had said this about “negative SEO,” a term used to describe a way a competitor might harm another site:

There’s almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.

Now the page says:

Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.

Google changed the language a few months ago around March 14th according to Shaun Anderson. This pre-dates the Penguin launch, which may validate that the update of this text does not prove that Penguin makes it “easier than ever” to use “negative SEO” techniques than before.

The page does say it was updated on May 22nd but the only change made on May 22nd was the addition of the video added to the top of the page. The video talks about “What should I do if my competitors are using webspam techniques?”

This video was published to the public about a week ago, about the same time when it was added to this help page.

The other content changes to the page were done on or before March 14, 2012.

All it may say is that Google is more likely to admit these techniques are indeed possible.

Image credit to ShutterStock

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Penguin Update | Google: SEO | SEO: Spamming

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • http://www.JoeRega.com/ Joseph Rega

    That’s pretty interesting, I wonder if they’ll make it easier to report these negative links. Also, I’m Not exactly sure if this falls under the category of “Google ass-licking.”

  • NoPaidLinksHereHonest

    That’s all well and good, but I’m afraid it’s still pretty much akin to Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi Minister of Information’s protestations on the banks of the Tigris.   On this occasion instead of “There are no American troops in Baghdad”, we have “There are no sites hit by negative SEO in our index.”

    Actually, that may be true considering there’s a solid chance that going on reports from elsewhere, those sites suffering from negative SEO have actually been as good as de-indexed anyway.

    There’s little doubt that negative SEO has been around for years, and that it’s not as easy to do as somewould have you believe.  BUT, and this is a very big BUT, there are so many straightforward things that Google could do to remove the threat and still ensure the quality of its index.  That’s what they ultimately want isn’t it?

    Does anyone know why they don’t want to provide such functionality?

  • Garth O’Brien

    Google should just devalue the “bad links” instead of issuing a penalty. Negative SEO does work in some instances and works quite well. If Google just ignored the “bad links” then the site generating these links would not benefit and no one would try negative SEO. Boooo Google. Booo.

  • Raviraj Tak

    Thats fine; But what if there is no webmaster contact details available to contact for the copyright. What would be the steps of google in such cases. If reported it to de-index a page from google which carrys a page full of links to another site and the site owner had not paid for the links.

    What to do in such cases ? Any suggestions

  • http://www.gg2.net/ Garavi Gujarat

    fine, but what to do in e-commerce sites privacy policy, what would be Google takes the steps in this types of cases, it’s all copyrights. 

  • http://twitter.com/AlexHavian Alex Havian

    they did update by march 30 then april 18 then latest update may 22 so I would say they working on this issue  they should fix in couple of month…

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