Can a competitor hurt your site by pointing lots of links at it….. this is very interesting.
Dan apparently annoyed a few people….
and they decided to use his site as an example how NEGATIVE SEO can actually work to destroy a website rankings….
Dan spotted his rankings take a nosedive, – EDIT – Dan got a message from Google about unnatural links…..
the person who had a problem with his liaison with Matt Cutts decided to make an example of him…..
Pixelgrinder and I conducted a little experiment on whether negative seo was possible in the current climate – we felt it was important to know whether it was possible for a site to be negatively affected completely by outside influences. We carried out a massive scrapebox blast on two sites to ensure an accurate result.
You can see the results of this activity below:
Can a competitor hurt your rankings with NEGATIVE SEO?
Both sites have received “unatural links” messages in Webmaster Tools. Neither site has had a “link building” campaign ever. By using 3rd party tools (e.g. Majestic) I can see a lot of unnatural links pointing at both sites, but I didn’t put those links there.
Someone in the forum mentioned:
Also if you look at the changes Google has made to their guidelines, it paints another picture again.
“Can competitors harm ranking? There’s nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.” Then, in November, it got “slightly” modified… just a TINY fraction too:
“Can competitors harm ranking? There’s ALMOST nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.”
Wow, what a difference one word can make! So hang on, saying “almost nothing” means “can”, no matter which way you spin it. Then on March 14th, they caved.
“Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.” -http://support.google.com/
webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=In case you missed it, the key difference is in that first line: en&answer=66356
You can see it’s changed from “nothing” to “almost nothing” to “perfect political answer”
So – can a competitor hurt your rankings? On their own? Or do you need to be doing other things as well….?
Tell me someone who has heard of Google, and who IS NOT trying to rank higher….. ?
Where does this leave us if negative seo is alive and well?
Scary times indeed – you now seem to HAVE to keep an eye on the types of links you have pointing at your site, ESPECIALLY if you are actively promoting your site on top of this – I know this only too well, too.
I would say this test has proved to be a test Positive. Keyterm: SEO Book
Check Date Rank URL Found
Apr 18, 2012 —- Position 41
Mar 28, 2012 —- Position 3
Mar 26, 2012 —- Position 3
Mar 23, 2012 —- Position 3
Mar 22, 2012 —- Position 3
Mar 21, 2012 —- Position 8
Mar 20, 2012 —- Position 8
So – the blackhats think this Negative SEO example has been successful.
Dan was kind enough to leave a response i the comments…..
Hi Shaun. Unfortunately, this “test” hasn’t yielded anything yet. Two SERPs they claim to have moved are [seo] and [seo book]. For [seo] I didn’t get any referrals (nearly zero) from this SERP until March 22, right after they started. Spiked all the way up to page 1 about 4 days in, held up for a few days, then dropped back down to a lower position. Probably higher than it was before still, since I am getting a handful of referrals per day now.
Verdict: Negative SEO Fail. Possibly the opposite of the intended result since I got traffic I never got before. Still am getting more.
For [seo book] they drove it up from the middle of page 1 (5-9 is pretty normal, page 2 is not unusual) all the way to #2, then it dropped down to #3.
I moved the site from Rackspace Managed to Rackspace Cloud last week, because the old server literally could not handle the latest WordPress.
Unfortunately, the theme I’ve been using since 2007 broke on the WP upgrade, and I had to deploy a new theme, more or less chosen at random because I was running out of time. Which changed run-of-site internal links from [seo book] to [Home]. Last time I did that it dropped to page 4 within a week. In this case, it’s dropped to page 3.
It’s possible that the drop was not more dramatic, because the “negative SEO” linking is actually providing some ranking boost. Verdict: Inconclusive, but I will gladly take your even-money bets that it will be back on page 1 in a week or so.