Recap on Negative SEO, Real or Myth?

Emmanuel Rivera's picture
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On Thu, December 27, 2012, I wrote a commentary about negative SEO titled "Negative SEO, Real or Myth?" Some readers have written back asking a variety of questions that lead me to revisit my article for review. I have to admit that it was driven more from passion than a technical perspective, so I'm going to attempt to make a couple of clarifications here.

Recap on Negative SEO, Real or Myth?

In reviewing Negative SEO, I found that I failed to qualify, or disqualify, some of my comments, so, I'm going to do so in a question answer format.

Do Inbound Links Leech Rank Juice?

It's not as the inbound links are leeching rank juice from the target website. The potential for negative impact may result when Google Penguin takes note of where the links are originating from if the link hosts are of ill repute or low quality, low ranking sites, known link broker site or link banks, and links that have occurred in in an unnatural rate. The last factor, unnatural rate, I suspect to be the most telling.

How does my site's historical link building record play a factor?

More than anything else, I would have to say based my findings, Penguin was designed to detect an unnatural accumulation of links. Unless you manage to have exclusive rights to a breaking story, or create content that goes viral resulting in a landslide of inbound links, amassing links at a rate that defies the historical records of link accumulation for your site will raise a red flag.

How often do you recommend I blog?

Depending on your page rank, and assuming you're just starting out or have less than a page rank of 3, I recommend you release, at first, one blog entry once a week or every two weeks. Any more may likely be a waste of your content and other resources. It takes a lot of resources to create quality content. Even organizations with editorial staffs are hard pressed to come up with more than a handful of quality articles per day. To think that a small site can suddenly come up with a piece of content that would encourage a windfall of links is suspicious, but that doesn't mean that it's not possible, but the likelihood is rare and would raise a brow.

Can a link from a bad domain negatively affect my website?

I didn't mean to suggest that a link from a website of ill repute is all it takes to bring down another website's ranks. Absolutely not. It's not that simple there are too many variables that come into play. The mark's reputation for one, if the target website has a good reputation, it's going to take much more than one link to tarnish it. What about 100 links, or a thousand? Again, if the reputation of the target website is historically solid, chances are that little, if any, harm will be done.


On the other hand, I had a website in my stable that wasn't able to get out of the gates. The website and every one of its pages was fully indexed, and it responded to search queries, but it was stuck with the page rank of "0", so what was the problem?

To be honest, despite all the review and study, I didn't quite conclusively ever find out. There was one link that was, at best, embarrassing. The link originated from a site that clearly violated laws prohibiting child pornography. Just one link, I reasoned that it wasn't enough to justify being sandbagged for two years, but now that we were able to disavow the link, using Google's disavow tool, once gone within weeks it began to ranked. Go figure.

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