With the latest Google algorithm update, codenamed panda, Negative SEO has now become an issue everyone must be concerned about. It is now possible for mailcious SEO’s and hackers to negatively affect search engine rankings simply by pointing some of the wrong links at your website.
Building links from authoritative websites that have a real audience and real users is the best link building strategy.
The ability to defend against a Negative SEO campaign is related to your branding and the authority, depth, and quality of your site’s link portfolio.
They will hopefully create a section in Google Webmaster Tools that provides a disallow links feature to disavow any link pointing to you.
Some old school quick and dirty semi black hat SEO tricks that worked forever are no longer effective. Low effort tactics such as mass directory submissions, article marketing, run of site links, low engagement blog networks and content spinning/content submission links got hit very hard.
Negative SEO has previously been possible, however it used to be technical and required a lot of planning and targeted effort. Negative link bombing is now easy for anyone to do and many small business people are choosing to do this to hurt their competitors.
The Google Panda update has hurt search result relevance in some competitive categories such as insurance and finance, where all the companies engage in questionable SEO tactics. These spaces that are so difficult to rank for almost require SEO’s to bend the where top performers who deserved to rank got hit, decreasing the quality of the search results in certain instances.
The userbase and audience of a website may be more important than the inbound link quality of a site. Online quantititave metric sites such as quantcast, compete.com and Alexa can show which sites get real traffic, and have a better chance to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Solid Audience = better rankings.
Taking SEO shortcuts by buying links or using link schemes just has no more value, as Google is figuring out how to use their massive repository of user data to their advantage. Now that Chrome is the most used web browser, they have more information about your behavior than ever before with which to use against you for ranking your websites. And this is in addition to the ridiculous amount of websites that use Google analytics.
Yes, Google is big brother, and these are the tools it uses to serve up is SERP’s.
When looking at your stats reporting you should see links that have actual referrer traffic. If the majority of links do not send real visitors then you need to change your efforts to acquire links that receive real traffic.
Linkbuilding is no longer an independent online activity and should be the by-product of other activities. This is how Google looks at it.
To combat this, you must work to make connections in the real world and and be active to be noticed offline. Meeting people at a conference or social event is a great way to get noticed.
Forward thinking blogs such as mint.com have been doing a great job for a long time, creating worthy posts, infographics, and educational content since they began. This kind of smart writing allowed them to build an audience and then try to get their audience to signup for their products once they had won their trust.