Negative SEO- when others (read-competitors) can affect your rankings with bad links. Is this thought just SEO paranoia or does this actually happen?
The search industry turns to Google for answers and since long Google has been saying that bad links others used against you can't hurt your sites rankings. But the search industry saw it happening and now the discussion is out in the open. Google itself has changed its replies overtime.
Earlier, the search giant was quoted as- “There’s nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index."
But now, it has been altered to (on March 14, 2012) – "Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question."
This change in tone from Google has webmasters confronting their worst fears- their site is at risk from competitors. If you are using Google Webmaster Tools, then you can get an inkling of sabotage from the infamous “unnatural linking” messages from Google. But if your site is out of the Webmaster Tools, then you would be wiped clean of the search results and there is pretty much nothing that you can do than simply shut shop. The entire appeal to Google will have a long time sorting itself and till you are proven innocent your site will be in the pits.
Webmaster's were pretty shaken up after Google came down upon BuildMyRank and the negative SEO trend dominated the forums again. Issues like ‘will the influx of unnatural links damage the strong domains too’ have cropped up and are a part of the multiple case studies that have been going on about the issue.
What Can You Do About It In Google Webmaster Tools, find the links to your site and if you find links from a shady domain inform Google to completely discount those. You can also go through the domain and block certain pages if you see fit. This way you can arrest the mal-intent links and identify the paid links and scrapers too.
Be on your watch and walk the tight rope of smart SEO. Be aware so that you are not shut down even when you never lifted a finger. Do you have any more ideas on how SEOs can work with Google to stop this? Please share your views.Negative SEO- What Google Says and What You Can Do?,