Good SEO vs. Negative SEO
There’s good SEO and then there’s bad SEO. Just as good chemistry can be used for dark purposes, negative SEO can be used nefariously and refers to the worst kind of SEO possible: The intentional act of over-optimizing or spamming a site in order to lower its rankings in search results. It’s bad stuff, not the kind of thing you or your agency should ever engage in.
Good SEO is considered a highly ethical practice, when it’s employed to help quality sites with great content to establish well-deserved rankings through following developer best practices and Google’s quality guidelines. It’s also ethical when used to help well-intentioned sites overcome technical barriers such as unintentional duplicate content, crawlability, page speed and other issues.
How Does Negative SEO Happen?
Negative SEO is done primarily through link building. For example, someone may pay an off-shore firm to build 10,000+ links to your site using a key phrase your site is targeting. Please note: if your current agency is doing this with the belief this is going to improve rankings, cancel immediately or you may experience traffic declines similar to this:
How to Know if You’ve Been Targeted
Spotting negative SEO is fairly straightforward if you’ve never intentionally built links. However, if you’ve built links manually through the years using various target keywords, then it can be more difficult. Regardless of how the links have appeared in your profile, here are a handful of things you can do:
- Conduct a backlink analysis, focusing on anchor text
- Look for unnatural or suspicious IPs
- Identify any out-of-industry, unrelated anchor text (Pills, Payday, etc.)
- Check Google Webmaster Tools for Manual Penalties