“Negative SEO” – Harming Your Competitors With SEO

The Saboteurs Of Search from Forbes has been getting some buzz from around the search industry. In short, the article interviews two SEOs about how they can potentially use “negative SEO” tactics to harm a site in Google.

The other day, I reported at Search Engine Roundtable about companies offering to do this type of work. So the Forbes article is pretty timely.

Google’s Matt Cutts is quoted in the Forbes article, confirming that it is possible to hurt a site’s ranking but says it’s unlikely: “I won’t go out on a limb and say it’s impossible.”

The article details seven ways to “sabotage” a site’s rankings in Google:

(1) Google Bowling (2) Tattling (3) Google Insulation (4) Copyright Takedown Notices (5) Copied Content (6) Denial of Service (7) Click Fraud

Infamous black hat SEO, Fantomaster has decided to post his own Fighting Dirty techniques. But he also shared how one can protect themselves from “negative SEO.”

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Search Marketing: Public Relations | SEO: General | 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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  • crimsongirl

    The Forbes article is a little sensationalistic.

    Reporting paid links to Google – what Forbes pejoratively calls “tattling” – is not just ethical, it’s something we should be encouraging every search engine professional to do. (You should report paid links even in industries that don’t affect you – the better to discredit the link selling industry and make people think twice before using them.)

    “Insulation” – creating many sites to take up real estate – is a legitimate tactic employed by a lot of big brands. It can be frustrating to the rest of us who would like to place in SERPS for those brands, but it is not unethical.

    Click Fraud – a major problem on the internet and one I spend a lot of time fighting. But the perpetrators aren’t competitors. They are “affiliates” of YSM and Google AdWords who try to make money by clicking away.

    Denial of Service, copying content, buying links to competitors – yes those are bad things. I wish law enforcement agencies would get involved. Right now it’s still the Wild West on the internet.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/wordpress/ Michael Martinez

    “Reporting paid links to Google – what Forbes pejoratively calls “tattling” – is not just ethical, it’s something we should be encouraging every search engine professional to do.”

    Hm. I don’t think so. There are way too many paid links out there that Google doesn’t seem to object to. Let them figure out which paid links they are happy with. I have better things to do with my time.

  • http://www.luckylester.com Lucky Lester

    “Reporting paid links to Google – what Forbes pejoratively calls “tattling” – is not just ethical, it’s something we should be encouraging every search engine professional to do.”

    Give your head a shake!

    “I wish law enforcement agencies would get involved. Right now it’s still the Wild West on the internet.”

    And I suppose you think Google should be the new Sheriff? Just what the World Wide Web needs – Rent a Cops. The Internet works because it is the Wild West and you think that allowing Google to police how the Internet links pages and sites together is going to level the playing field?

    To me, doing this would be akin to the old robber baron’s changing the laws to prevent others from coming along and interfering with their businesses. After they had made their fortunes in a particular business they make said business illegal so no one else can earn fortunes, thus securing their positions in society.

    Google made their fortunes off of paid linking and built their main product around link popularity. Now that they are sitting at the top of the heap they want to prevent anybody else from gaining the same successes through linking. Their model is flawed and needs to be fixed but rather than deal with that themselves they want us to fix it for them by buying into this whole “paid linking is bad” nonsense. This smacks of Yellow journalism that would undoubtedly impress William Randolph Hearst.

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