Negative SEO

What is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO refers to malicious practices aimed at harming a competitor’s search engine rankings. Unlike traditional SEO strategies that focus on improving a site’s visibility, Negative SEO attempts to penalize or diminish the search performance of another site through unethical means. This can include a variety of tactics designed to simulate black hat SEO practices against a target website.

Types of Negative SEO

  1. Link-Based Negative SEO: Creating numerous low-quality, spammy backlinks to the target site, intending to trigger Google’s penalty systems.
  2. Content Duplication: Copying a website’s content and distributing it across the internet, diluting its uniqueness and potentially leading to Google’s duplicate content penalty.
  3. Fake Reviews: Generating a large number of negative reviews about a business on various platforms to damage its reputation and SEO.
  4. Hacking the Site: Gaining unauthorized access to a site to implement harmful SEO practices, such as altering content, injecting malicious code, or redirecting the site to questionable domains.
  5. Removing Backlinks: Contacting webmasters of other sites pretending to be the owner of the target site and requesting the removal of backlinks, thus reducing its link equity and authority.

Examples of Negative SEO Attacks

  • Spammy Link Building: An e-commerce site suddenly notices thousands of incoming links from dubious sources, all pointing to their homepage with irrelevant anchor text.
  • Content Scraping: A high-ranking blog post is copied verbatim and posted on hundreds of other low-quality websites, leading to a loss in rankings due to duplicate content issues.
  • False DMCA Complaints: Filing unfounded DMCA takedown notices against a website’s key content, causing temporary removal from search results until disputes are resolved.

Protecting Against Negative SEO

To safeguard against Negative SEO, website owners should regularly monitor their backlink profiles using tools like Google’s Search Console and third-party SEO tools. Regular audits can help identify and disavow toxic backlinks. Additionally, implementing robust security measures, including regular updates and secure passwords, can protect against hacking attempts. Staying vigilant about your online reputation and promptly addressing any false negative reviews or social media attacks is also crucial.


Negative SEO represents a dark aspect of online competition, requiring awareness and proactive measures to protect your site’s integrity and ranking. While challenging, understanding these tactics and preparing defensive strategies can mitigate potential harm.

Nedim Mehic

Nedim is a senior technical SEO specialist, and the co-founder of Beki AI. On the Beki AI blog, we share new and innovative strategies to SEO and content marketing.

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