Google Confirms Negative SEO Exists

3 Jun


For years, Google stood by the stance that there was little competitors could do to a website to negatively affect its search engine rankings. As natural links became more valuable and paid links were devalued or penalized, Google changed their stance slightly on the issue, but still maintained it wasn’t a widespread issue, with Google’s Matt Cutts admitting negative SEO isn’t impossible, but it is difficult.

Then came the link disavow tool, which allows webmasters to disallow paid or low quality links and clean up their backlink profile, regardless of whether they or a competitor was responsible for pointing those backlinks at a website.

Now Google has changed their stance once again, simply saying that Google works hard to prevent competitors from utilizing negative SEO.

The change was noticed on the “Can Competitors harm ranking?” help page at Google Webmaster Tools.

When the page first went online, it simply stated “There’s nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.” Last year, when negative SEO became a lot more prevalent, the wording was changed to “There’s almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.”

This week, webmasters noticed that the wording was changed once more, to “Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.”

This is a clear admission that yes, negative SEO does exist and it can result in third parties being able to remove competing sites from the Google search index, or at least negatively impact their search rankings.

While changing the wording is a confirmation for many webmasters that Google is finally acknowledging the problem, it could also tip off negative SEO wars between competitors. Some webmasters might not have engaged in negative SEO for the simple reason that so many people insisted the problem was next to nonexistent, although those who have been impacted by it know otherwise. So some unscrupulous webmasters might think nothing of link bombing competitors with one of those “10,000 backlinks for $20” deals that are advertised everywhere.

That said, webmasters who might not follow SEO news closely, or who haven’t had their sites impacted by negative SEO, might never visit that page and see confirmation that negative SEO is a potential problem. The change to the page reflecting Google’s new stance on the issue was made very quietly, and seems limited to just that single page.

It is a step moving forward that Google is acknowledging that negative SEO is a real problem, but it is also positive that they are also acknowledging that they are looking at ways to combat the issue.


Reference :-

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