New Infographic and Study Shows that Negative SEO Is Alive and Well

Search engine optimization continues to be one of the most lucrative professions in the online development industry, and that’s for a pretty good reason. Google continues to update its search engine ranking algorithms, first unleashing its Google Panda modification and then treating the world to Google Penguin the next year. These two updates have focused almost entirely on relegating so-called “junk websites” to the back of the line when a user searches for their content using their top keywords. Junk websites are identifiable in a number of ways, including their adherence to emphasizing and overly repeating keywords, filling the site with over-the-top advertising, and placing a high number of wasteful, junky links all over the site’s design.

These things are now easy to spot by Google’s advanced Panda and Penguin algorithms and, in fact, Google Penguin was designed almost exclusively to prevent the proliferation of wasteful links. The algorithm’s effectiveness was recently tested by a leading search engine optimization firm, which placed tens of thousands of these wasteful links all over a well-regarded website which placed on the first page of Google search results. Five weeks and $45 later, that website was no longer an authority in its niche. Its space on the front page was done away with, and Google relegated it to the “back pages” of spam, junk, and newcomers. The lesson? Write and link to content with purpose and good reason, or Google will have a pretty good reason to send a website to the back of the line.

29 comments… add one
  • Shamelle Jun 14, 2012 @ 20:08

    Many are of the consensus that in the aftermath of the Penguin update, negative SEO has increased in occurrence. For websites that are too frequently targeted with negative SEO, they may get buried in search results.

  • gregory smith Jun 23, 2012 @ 2:39

    Another great study – NEGATIVE SEO is alive and well. Makes you wonder when some dummy will attack!
    The thing is, you need to have a very professional, yet reputable SEO firm managing your SEO long term.
    In this case, the negative seo someone “ATTEMPTS” to throw at you, will not affect your site.
    It’s time more and more small business owners started caring about there business a little more.

    thank you for the great post “TP”,

    Gregory Smith

    • Deborah E. Anderson Jun 23, 2012 @ 14:04

      Ah, good point, Gregory – A “very professional, yet reputable SEO firm.” And, we know some like that . Thanks 😉 -Deborah

  • Jeremy Jun 24, 2012 @ 14:03

    I’ve seen many gigs where people are offering to “create 5000 backlinks or more” for only $5! I believe these links would have a negative affect on SEO. I ran a similar test of my own, and got similar results. This in mind, be careful paying for large bundles of backlinks from low page-rank sites. Thanks for the excellent post!

    • Deborah E. Anderson Jul 24, 2012 @ 12:16

      Thanks for the warning, Jeremy. Very good point! And, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is the case, and may actually be harmful. Still seems to me that quality pays off, and feels the best when it does pay off.

  • Norbert Jul 8, 2012 @ 1:14

    Hi Debra,
    It’s sad that negative seo still exists and still has these kind of effects.
    Do you think google coming up with a way to disregard this spammy links will solve this?
    I know bing now allows one to instruct them to disregard certain links.

    • Deborah E. Anderson Jul 8, 2012 @ 1:34

      It would seem unlikely that there is one solution that fits all and that is fool-proof, and long-lasting. So, as such, I’m not sure that Google has the end-all solution. But, that said, with those criteria, I’m not sure that the end-all solution exists. Thanks.

  • Jeremy Jul 15, 2012 @ 13:53

    The above instance again pulls out the doubt regarding the updates Google brings out and what actually do they target for achieving. But even then I would like and suggest to be on the safer side though.

  • Al Jul 23, 2012 @ 1:17

    I really like the infographic, is that true? In just two weeks and 45$ you made a website decrease it’s ranking? Now that’s scary If people will just pay some spammy heads seos to turn down their competitors.
    Can disavow links strategy can counter attack that spammy attack from negative seo?

    • Deborah E. Anderson Jul 24, 2012 @ 12:19

      It would seem it is true, that the SEO company was able to do that, for the purpose of this study. However, my understanding is that they did it with their own web site, as a case study (test). You do bring up a good point, though. Can this be done to take out a competitor?

  • SEO Toronto Jul 30, 2012 @ 12:57

    This is really an interesting blog as it focuses on the very important topic. i came to know about so many things or tips.
    SEO toronto

    • Deborah E. Anderson Jul 31, 2012 @ 19:27

      Thank you. It would seem that you would find SEO of particular interest. Had you seen this particular study before?

  • SEO Toronto Aug 2, 2012 @ 22:36

    The SEO considers how the engine works, what are the searches of people on internet, the number of times the searches are done, the preference of the people for search engine.

    • Deborah E. Anderson Aug 26, 2012 @ 15:57

      Great insight on what elements are considered. Thanks for adding value by listing those. What are your thoughts on “Negative SEO,” even as a label?

  • Nishadha Aug 13, 2012 @ 23:51

    As you have mentioned unless you’re a trusted brand negative SEO can easily harm your website. Another reason why you should frequently check your webmaster tools.

    • Deborah E. Anderson Aug 26, 2012 @ 15:58

      Hi Nishadha. Oh, so true! And, what an apt reminder to check your tools. Some of us get distracted easily 😀 Thank you.

  • First birthday party Aug 28, 2012 @ 3:58

    Hi, This is really truly saying about negative effect of SEO, now google update every month something new which is very good for seo. I am agree with all users. very nice blogs. keep updating about SEO.
    Theme birthday parties

  • Lisa Chaves Dec 13, 2012 @ 1:51

    Recently there have been numerous claims that negative SEO doesn’t work made by people who should know better. Many of them don’t know any better though, due to a combination of being naive, trusting public relations messaging as being the truth, and a general lack of recent experience on smaller sites.

    • Deborah E. Anderson Jan 15, 2013 @ 17:54

      Wow, Lisa. I would be interested in hearing more on the topic of negative SEO. Good point on the trusting public relations messaging. I mean, isn’t that what public relations teams are there for, to help with the messaging and protect the brand of the client?

  • Owen E. Richason IV Dec 19, 2012 @ 13:30

    Negative is alive. And you’re right, large sites (like Amazon, Wikipedia, SEOmoz) aren’t affected. But a lot of damage could be done to a small business site, particularly to one that is geo-targeted.

    The trick is keeping an eye on your webmaster metrics and focusing on publishing really good content.

    • Deborah E. Anderson Jan 15, 2013 @ 17:49

      Good point and more of us need to keep that eye on the webmaster metrics. Do you utilize the Google tools? Or, do you recommend other tools, as well?

  • TheSeoPortal Jun 27, 2013 @ 3:29

    Negative SEO is alive and this is the reason because of which Google introduce Google disavown tool with aim to give flexibility to webmaster to block all negative website links to prevent them from crawl by search engine.

  • Deborah E. Anderson Dec 8, 2013 @ 6:11

    Glad you found it helpful, Tiffani.

  • Steph Riggs Feb 8, 2014 @ 10:59

    I read so many article about the failure of blackhat or negative SEO but after reading your post I come to know that blackhat techniques are still alive and doing good job. The infograph shared by you is describing well about negative SEO tips and tricks.

    • Deborah E. Anderson Aug 7, 2014 @ 14:19

      Thanks, Steph. Yeah, there is still blackhat and whitehat co-existing in the world of SEO. Thank you for sharing 😉

  • Birthday Planet Jul 4, 2017 @ 4:49

    Nice Post Thanks For Useful Information People to know about blackhat & negative SEO

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