I was surprised to have received this email this morning, subject: “Remove Any Site from Google”, from a company claiming it will destroy your competition and pave the way for your site to get to the top of the SERPs!
The reason for my surprise, and I admit I am being a little naïve here, but I just can’t believe that someone would openly offer a service like this. Link networks and other ways of manipulating your way to the top of the SERPs have been around since day one, but they concentrate on YOUR site and when Google catch up with you, you face the consequences. This on the other hand is going in a different direction that is pretty much fraud, must surely have legal consequences and where the penalties would surely be more than a drop in rankings!
In the wake of the 2012 Penguin Update that pretty much began Google’s war on the over optimised link it became apparent that you could target your competitors with the sort of thing the update was looking to combat – high volume, low quality, over optimised links. It looks to me like the link network guys who have had to change their business model and now instead of pointing their links at your site, will now instead point them at your competitors.
Big brand sites, in my opinion, would have nothing to worry about – this is targeted at the small businesses where link profiles are easier to pollute with low links.
The worry is, that although Google claim they are capable of detecting and negating negative SEO, most people have seen that recovery from Penguin/Panda will take a long time, if indeed despite their efforts they have recovered. The whole process of link removal and disavowing links followed by reconsideration requests is a time consuming process and if a business is hit, the time it takes to do all this could at the same time see a crushing blow as it loses enquiries/sales. You could look to try and bring your site to the attention of Google directly rather than wait for an algorithm update, but in the current climate I imagine there’s many sites who may claim to be a victim and such efforts will probably fall on deaf ears. So far, the general consensus is, the disavow tool is NOT the answer to removing your bad links quickly and seeing speedy recoveries. If anything, there are suspicions it was basically used to acquire insight, from webmasters, as to which domains Google should be looking to target – this was certainly the case with the latest Panda update where many believe they were putting disavow data into the algorithms.
Having checked the email and website that the above email came from, it would seem the sites and down and there’s nobody actively taking “orders”. But I suspect this will not be the last we see of such practices. Till now, negative SEO has tended to be confined to the black hat forums and the like where the techniques were talked about though how many actually carried them out is unknown – but now, if someone offers this as a service, you know that someone WILL buy it.
If you think you have been the victim of a Negative SEO campaign or have any concerns about such services, call our team on 0845 86 22 122 to find out how our digital marketing strategies can help you get ahead of your competitors, the legit way.