Can a Competitor Hurt Your Small Business with Bad Links?
During the Q & A at the recent Local University Internet search marketing workshop in Austin, TX, an SEO consultant from Katy asked the panel about the possibility that a business competitor could hurt your website by paying a spammer to create lots of new links to your site from low quality websites, like porn sites. He said that a competitor had attacked a Dallas-area car dealership by paying for spammers to link to the victim’s website, and that Google had penalized the car dealer’s site because of these low-quality links.
Matt McGee was in that panel in Austin and he’s also an editor at Search Engine Land. Yesterday, Matt published a Search Engine Land post about this topic, and he included a short video of Google’s Distinguished Engineer, Matt Cutts, talking about the issue at the recent SMX Advanced in Seattle. Cutts was speaking with Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan during the SMX Advanced keynote when the subject turned to negative SEO and the possibility that Google’s Penguin updates had made it easier for one website to purposely hurt another site with low-quality links. Here’s the video.
Matt Cutts said in the video that anytime Google uses an algorithmic approach in ranking websites, they try to prevent “false positives” and allowing one website to hurt another. Google has heard the concerns of the people who are worried about bad links as a negative SEO tactic, and it’s built in a lot of protections to prevent that from happening. He said that some people had expressed a wish for a disavow-this-link tool in Google’s Webmaster Tools. Even though Google had put in a lot of protections in Penguin so that webmasters and SEOs don’t need to worry about that, he said, Google is at least considering a tool of that type that might roll out in the next several months.
Update: Google did launch a tool for disavowing links and IX Brand SEO Services has used it to redeem a client website hurt by bad links. In this case, the client site had been hacked before the business became an IX Brand SEO Services client. Part of the hacking involved creating bad links from low-quality online drug sales websites around the world. It took several months for Google to act, but the bad links were eventually disavowed and the website returned to Google’s search results listings.
Search Engine Land’s Vanessa Fox also published an article yesterday describing the new Bing tool for disavowing links and discussing Bing’s confusing announcements about whether such a tool is needed to prevent Penguin-like penalties with Bing.
If you’re worried about spam links to your website and the possibility that they might be hurting your Google rankings, call IX Brand SEO Services. We can provide you with a link analysis of your website, categorized by link type, plus a plan of action to build good links and minimize the impact of bad ones. Call us at 281-343-3284 or send us an email through our contact form!