In this age of ever-changing technology and e-commerce establishments, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) maximization has always been on the forefront and entrepreneurs all across the world endeavor to get a head-start in this race of e-competition! The most prominent techniques used to create a strong base for one’s website is to develop proper keyword usage and link building to acquire a higher ranking in the search engine pages. All these methods combined form up to be, what’s called, SEO maximization and that is how retailers get the attention of their target audience!
Now before we delve further into the concept of SEO, let’s just first understand the basics. SEO maximization is simply the act of generating organic, natural and permitted sources of traffic on the website and simultaneously developing content and keywords which would fetch the highest rankings for your website. To put it simply, SEO maximization is a way of increasing the customer viewership and popularity of your website by following the norms prescribed by search engine browsers.
There are two distinctions to SEO rankings: Negative SEO and Positive SEO. Negative SEO would imply the deliberate tampering of rankings of a particular URL with the motive to negatively affect the host domain’s website and thereby decrease its viewership on the search engine result pages. On the other hand, positive SEO, as the name suggests, is the process of amplifying the rankings of a website by manipulating the content and link building of a host domain’s website to positively affect its URL status. So there you go!
Evolution of negative SEO
Following the Penguin update by Google in 2012, which is practically an algorithm detecting and subsequently decreasing the rankings of any website if found not complying with the guidelines laid down by Google, negative SEO techniques have gained their reputation. Negative SEO techniques involve the use of Black-hat SEO techniques which essentially influences the ranking of any page by manipulating the number of links attached to it. Now imagine the catastrophe that can happen if your website becomes the target in any black-hat SEO scheme! The recent announcement by Google has revealed that Penguin has been incorporated as the core algorithm, thus implying that the algorithm would work on a real-time basis and that websites would be subjected to evaluation on a real-time basis as well.
Moreover, you may be experimenting with the variable for SEO maximization and you accidentally impact the rankings of your website- that concludes as negative SEO but it’s something which wasn’t intentional. The same strategy is employed by competitors of similar product-selling websites which qualifies as negative SEO as in this case, an external body is attempting to maneuver your website rankings by offensive attacks. That’s something to watch out for!
What’s the difference?
Depending on the guidelines set by Google, almost every technique employed to outshine one’s own website ranking against their competitor’s is considered “black-hat”. So essentially, a “white-hat” SEO technique simply means the process of utilizing techniques in accordance with the accepted Terms of Service (TOS) as laid down by Google, on the contrary, a “black-hat” user resorts to techniques gained from experience and expertise which may or may not comply with the terms and conditions which Google wants us to follow.
Although Google condemns the use of negative SEO techniques, there are certain techniques which bypass the actual rules and regulations mentioned in the TOS. For example, large e-commerce retailers fancy the use of product optimizers both positively and negatively. One of the ways to do that is to cordially appeal to the specific webmaster to alter the links associated with a product or service available on your rival’s website and channel those links to the product or service in question to your website which justifies the worth of that product or service over your competitor’s. Voila! Even though you engaged in negative SEO by increasing your rankings than your competitor’s, you did so by being limiting yourself within the ambit provided by Google TOS.
The old-age notion of SEO maximization was to plug in as many numbers of keywords because people were of the view that higher the frequency of keywords, higher is the ranking guaranteed by search engine result pages. Well, that’s old news! Google algorithms have evolved in a very innovative manner and are built with the systems detecting the redundancy of content. Proper usage of keywords is necessary to boost your website and although keyword stuffing was once a very favored option, it definitely does not work anymore.
Hacking and Negative SEO – Are they related?
Almost always, hacking and negative SEO has been closely interlinked and people seem to be confused about which of these falls over the line. As investors in SEO maximization, one should always remember that there is a fine line of distinction between negative SEO or black-hat SEO techniques and hacking. Hacking essentially means gaining access illegally into an external entity with the sole purpose of interfering with the classified information contained in that web page. Whereas, just as mentioned above, negative SEO techniques are simply certain methods to enhance the rankings of your website by influencing the rankings of your competitors. There’s no question of doubt that hacking is an illegal activity, something which would face criminal charges.
Nevertheless, when it comes to negative SEO, every country has their own set of rules and therefore, judicial regulations are conditioned depending on one’s geographical boundaries.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common negative SEO applications utilized so far:
- Linking an innumerable amount of irrelevant external or internal links to a particular URL which would completely off-set their rankings and sidetrack the actual relevance of that website.
- Expanding on links from outed/burned networks with similar anchor matches. Of course, this is again just associating a vast number of links to a particular website to increase the viewership.
- Spamming content with the sole purpose of side-tracking the theme of the content and the usage of keywords in that particular article. By doing so, as Google’s algorithms evaluate the article/ web page, it would not score it a good rank as the content has been overshadowed by these negative SEO techniques.
Thus, once you get a hand in all these nitty-gritty, it would be easy to understand the entire idea of whether negative SEO or positive SEO seems to be a good idea.