Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
Link building has always been an important part of SEO, but the quality of those links came into focus with the Google Penguin update. Penguin set out to target sites that had “unnatural links” pointing to it and these sites were then penalized. Link building is a time consuming process, but really anyone can do it and anyone can build links to any site that they please. Knowing this, some website owners have thought, “OK, well why don’t I create lots of bad links to my competitors to get them penalized?” This practice has become known as negative SEO. Is it worth looking into? Not in our opinion.
Here are 3 reasons to avoid practicing negative SEO:
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should. Most smart website owners pay attention to their links and check in on their link portfolio from time to time. Google Webmaster Tools also provides notifications if it looks like something fishy is going on. A competitor will notice these “bad” inbound links that are coming to their site and will start doing some investigative work. The thing about most work that is done on the Internet is that it’s easily traceable. With the right tools a competitor will find out what the source of the links are. If it’s you, that just reflects poorly on your business and your brand. The competitor probably wouldn’t hesitate to put you on blast for doing so either. You don’t want to risk it or possibly damage your reputation. As we know, an online reputation is everything. If you have a reputation for being a con artist that does negative SEO, you probably won’t be trusted by your target audience.
It probably won’t work
Google is smart enough to know that a site owner can’t always control who links to them. Most websites are guilty of having some bad links that Google tends to just ignore. It’s only when the bad links grow at an alarming rate or there is a significant amount of them that Google gets suspicious. So, if you are going to try and use negative SEO against a competitor that has a well trusted site and lots of good quality links, it probably won’t work. The only sites that are really at any risk from negative SEO are the ones that Google is already keeping its eye on.
You should focus on your own site
Practicing negative SEO is like trying to sabotage your ex’s new relationship instead of trying to focus on yourself and meeting someone new. It just makes you look bad and is really a waste of time. Instead of spending all of that time and energy on creating bad links for your competitors, use that time to write great content and research new quality link locations for your own site. Link building takes time and is something that should be done on a regular basis over the long term. There’s no sense in worrying about competitor websites when you should only be focusing on how to make yours better.