Matt Cutts Comments on Negative SEO ProtectionWritten by Michael Levanduski
August 11, 2013 # 6:12 pm # Marketing Insights, Specials # 17 Comments
Since the release of the first Penguin update marketers have had a growing concern about the potential problems associated with “Negative SEO.” If a competitor, for example, purchases thousands of very low quality back links to your site, it could cause Google to punish your site in an attempt to prevent black-hat link building.
Over time this concern has been validated and even proven to be a real problem, but it was largely ignored by Google until recently. In a recent video from Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search engine spam, commented on this concern. According to Cutts, if you notice there are links pointing back to your site which you believe are causing problems, the first thing to do is ask the webmaster to have them removed. There are dozens of generic forms available to help streamline the process so you can send out lots of requests quite quickly.
If the webmaster refuses to remove the links, or they simply ignore your request, you can use the ‘disavow’ tool from Google. This is a tool which allows webmasters to tell Google that they are not associated with the site where this link is coming from, and they do not want that link to be associated with their site. Essentially it works similar to the nofollow tag, except it is applied by the receiving site rather than on the hosting page.
Once this process has been properly followed, you should continue with business as usual. Once Google has processed through the request, there should be no further negative impact from that particular link. Of course, it is still important to keep track of your back links to ensure there aren’t any additional low quality links being directed toward your site.
Cutts went on to say that this should only be a small concern for most site owners, and it should not represent a significant portion of their SEO strategies. He continued to reiterate the fact that the back link profile is only a small portion of the overall ranking algorithm. Site owners who focus on building a high-quality site with content that users love will, in the long run, be rewarded for their efforts.