Negative SEO refers to a set of malicious practices aimed at sabotaging a competitor’s search engine rankings. These practices can involve a variety of tactics that are designed to trick search engines into believing that the targeted website is not in compliance with the search engine’s guidelines, thereby resulting in a penalization or a significant drop in rankings. Essentially, negative SEO is the antithesis of ethical search engine optimization strategies, which seek to improve a site’s visibility in search engine results through legitimate means.
Some common negative SEO tactics include building spammy, unnatural backlinks to a competitor’s website, plagiarizing and distributing a competitor’s content across the web, creating fake negative reviews, and hacking a site to alter its content or to implement noxious SEO configurations. These actions can cause search engines to view the site as less reputable, less secure, or less authoritative, leading to a lower ranking in search results.
Negative SEO attacks can be damaging and difficult to recover from, requiring time, effort, and resources to identify and rectify the damage. As a result, website owners and SEO professionals must continuously monitor their backlink profiles and content integrity and take steps to disavow harmful links and secure their sites against potential breaches. It is important to note that negative SEO is widely considered a black-hat practice and goes against the terms of service of most search engines, including Google.