• I have a love/hate relationship with Google.

    The tools that Google creates are absolutely top notch. They are useful, well designed, user friendly and they are free. What more can you ask for?

    Plus many tools, like Google Analytics, are pretty much the industry standard. So you’re more or less stuck with them. Might as well love them :) .

    But I also hate Google…because they can’t really be trusted. And that’s a shame because so many people rely on Google to drive their business.

    By the way, relying on Google (or any single source) for driving your business is not a great idea. If you are having trouble coming up with an effective, well-rounded marketing plan, feel free to contact me so we can discuss your unique situation. 

    It seems that every time Google changes its algorithm, they come out with a statement saying that only a fraction of a percent of all websites will be affected. When in reality, it seems that the percentages are much higher.

    Of course, I can’t really prove this. And it may just be a matter of affected people being more outspoken than those who weren’t. But here’s an example that I can substantiate….

    The “Penguin Update” was an algorithm change to improve search engine rankings by eliminating “spammy” websites.

    Essentially, what the algorithm change did was punish websites that were practicing questionable SEO by just accumulating large amount of backlinks. So if you had a lot of “spammy” backlinks pointing at your website, Google didn’t look too favorably at you any more.

    Unless you’re a major corporation, of course…then all is forgiven. :)

    Of course, Google didn’t say this was a “punishment.” Rather, it was simply an algorithm change. But let’s set semantics aside…it was a punishment for bad SEO practices.

    And that’s fair enough. But…

    This raised some concerns about the possibility of “negative SEO.” In other words, if bad backlinking was now “punishable,” why couldn’t you just bombard your competitors with bad backlinks and sabotage their search rankings?

    Google denied this was a possibility.

    But were they telling the whole truth?

    Apparently not, because they recently released the “link disavow tool” to help you communicate to Google which links pointing to your site you don’t want taken into account.

    Why would they need to release this tool if “negative SEO” wasn’t really a possibility? Hmm…

    But that’s still conjecture.

    So here’s an infographic Tasty Placement providing experimental evidence that Google was just a tad bit…shall we say…dishonest :) .

    Negative SEO

     So what do you think about Google’s updates? Are they effective? Does Google lie about what it says?



    5 Responses to “[Infographic] Negative SEO and Why Google Should Never Be Trusted”

    1. Sharon Hurley Hall says:

      My example is a bit different, Eugene. I’ve been getting consistent traffic to Get Paid to Write Online over several years. As you know the site has quality content. But I saw something about Google penalizing ‘keyword name sites’, for want of a better phrase and I think this blunt instrument has affected my site. I notice that it no longer appears at the top of search listings for the keyword and traffic has fallen – makes me wonder if it’s being penalized somehow. I’m not going to lose a lot of sleep over it for now, but I’m monitoring it.

    2. Yomar from Social Prize says:

      I’ve been doing SEO before it even became recognized as an industry or formal practice and, for those in the same boat, the drastic and constant changes can be daunting.

      My advice to new SEO and Inbound Marketing professionals is this: don’t obsess about the technical details.

      Sure, you can keep up with Google patents, attend workshops/seminars, and view all the Matt Cutts viddos but it’s all really simple: Google rewards remarkable brands and unique content. They want to know you are important, trusted, and relevant to searches.

      The holistoc approach is make SEO part of overall Social Media and Content Marketing efforts. Organic traffic is great and it’s more sustainable than paid sources, but what we really should strive for is validation (trust), engagement (conversions), and persistence (recency and frequency).

      Create great content. Be remarkable. Develop allies. Nurture leads.

      What we’re seeing now is that social signals are becoming more important than links. These assets all count as votes. They validate your brand and create trust. Thus, the weight of these votes depends on the engagement and authority on the other end of the “tunnel”.

      What that shows is that, as much as SEO has changed, the underlying rules remain the same: authority/importance and relevance can be inherited. Focus on quality over quantity. Paid placement will always have some impact but the engagement and context is what determines how worthwhile the investment of time and money really is.

      Give people something worth talking about. It’s all about value up-front. There’s no cutting corners on engagement and building relationships/connections.

    3. Izzy says:

      I really can’t see how in one breath Google can say sites with “spammy” backlink profiles will be “adjusted” in the SERPS and in the very next breath deny that negative SEO is a possibility. A colleague of mine ran a similar test but with just a hell of a lot of forum profile links and low and behold the target site tanked after a few weeks.

    Leave a Reply to Sharon Hurley Hall

    Click here to cancel reply.


    Turn Your Content Into a Business-Driving Machine.

    Sign up below to get updates from Content Strategy Hub to learn how to use content to drive more traffic, leads and sales for your business online. And get free instant access to my marketing toolbox.

    Just enter your email and click "Get Instant Access"!