At SEO Liverpool we’re always testing, reading blogs and talking with others inside our industry about current optimisation issues. In previous posts we’ve discussed negative SEO. To clarify what we mean by negative SEO, it isn’t devaluing your own site through black and grey hat techniques that end up with small penalties, which may affect your rankings. We’re discussing factors outside of your control that could get you de-listed.
Many years ago, I was made aware of certain techniques that a skilled SEO could use to actually ‘burn’ another site. It was possible to go against influence Google’s search algorithm by pretending to be part of a particular site and through various, difficult and laborious techniques actually get a site delisted from Google. This would take a very long-time and was extremely difficult, more so to hid your tracks. We would never do this and just to be really clear we’ve have never heard of anyone actually trying it.
Google has pretty much always denied this is a possibility and has stuck to the belief that search engine factors that are outside the website owners control, can’t harm you.
The recent update to webmaster tools with their link disavow tool suggests their stance has changed!
How about a theoretical example.
We have a webpage that competes pretty well on page one for a particular key-phrase lets say ‘Halloween Masks’
They’ve a good content strategy, and link building is continuing at a steady pace. They’ve a good mix of both semantically linked websites and personal blogs with low PageRank.
It seems to me, that if Google have created a tool where you can disavow any link, then some links are deemed to be detrimental to website health. Therefore, if a competitor contacts a disreputable link-building agency and asked to place a few thousand links from a disreputable sites, link-farms and porn-sites, using our desired keyword, then the site in question will be penalised. Eventually and with continual bad link partners this particular site would not only be penalised but also eventually be removed from the Google index.
This would happen quickly and without the knowledge of the website owner, particularly if they haven’t yet signed up to a webmaster tools account.
You will get a warnings for inappropriate links, but thousands pointing at your site, from poor value web properties and link-farms will surly harm you.
There you have it. As an SEO in Liverpool, we’re convinced that negative SEO through no action of your own is now possible.