The reality is, negative search engine optimization is potential –but it is a lot harder to do than you may think. For the average webmaster, it would be nearly impossible to target a proven website and have a substantial impact on it. By way of instance, if a site already has a great deal of high-quality incoming links–which is to say an excellent natural link portfolio with loads of deep relationships, a constant posting program and a sitemap that tells Google how often it should be crawling its site–then it would be very tough to undo all that work. To put it differently, if a place has a robust backlink portfolio, then it’s possible to protect yourself against a possible attack.
That is not to say that with tools, time, and a systematic program of link building and purchasing a third-party website could not be devalued over time. But in case it worked, there isn’t any guarantee that Google wouldn’t notice something strange happening. Also, in that situation, and for your peace of mind, there are mechanisms to recuperate from algorithmic penalties. And, manual penalties could be assessed if the webmaster fails and can demonstrate that they have tried to clean their bad links.
Finally, negative SEO is tough to perform, time-consuming, costly, and has a higher prospect of doing nothing easy to knock out the planned target’s website. Therefore, it’s a practice that many companies and internet marketers not only deem highly immoral but also a waste of resources and investment.
SEO Problems Resulting from the Penguin Update
Google rolled out the Penguin upgrade in April 2012, which immediately affected a massive number of sites, penalizing those with exact-match anchor text found in low-quality posts, poor-quality links coming from places that auto-approve articles and comments, and also a bad ratio of on-site activity versus incoming links. A whole lot of the evidence suggested that Penguin was likely to boost the efficacy of negative SEO, by penalizing bad connections or high ratios of precise match anchor text in connection portfolios.
All these factors are things that a webmaster can do to target another site, but sites with a lot of high-quality brand signs will not suffer from a straightforward negative search engine optimization campaign. After all, if that were the case, sites like Wikipedia, that can be scraped, cloned and connected to by an awful lot of low-quality, unrelated websites, wouldn’t rank well.
Despite Google’s Penguin upgrade and all its subsequent iterations, negative SEO, fortunately, remains difficult to pull off, particularly on sites with powerful link portfolios or brand signs.
None of this would be to say it does not or can’t happen to you. If you think you were hit by negative SEO, the first thing you ought to do is log in to your Google Webmaster Tools account. For those who have a manual spam actions penalty, read the note and then create a list of the incoming links you have, and conduct a proper audit on these links and some others you can pull from using tools like Open Site Explorer or SEO Majestic. This can allow you to identify which links will need to be eliminated or disavowed.
As soon as you have completed this, wait to determine if your site recovers.
Some sites recover slightly from a Penguin punishment when they clean their act up, only to be penalized again when Google updates the algorithm. If you believe that has happened to you, you will want to conduct a much more comprehensive and thorough hyperlink audit. Don’t attempt to get away with doing only enough SEO work to scrape past the new algorithm upgrades. There is increasing evidence to indicate that Penguin 3.0 is considering outbound link portfolios so you will want to audit both your onsite and offsite links. Cleaning up your complete backlink portfolio not only protects you from any possible lousy SEO but also from additional Penguin updates.