Saving Your Website From Negative SEO

by Charles Dearing February 5th, 2013 


This article will walk you through what to do if you are receiving negative SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and relates to a set of guidelines that webmasters are advised to follow if they wish to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPS). Negative SEO relates to your website's online reputation, as much as it relates to your website's SERP position. In the world of online reputation there is Negative SEO and Anti-SEO.

Anti-SEO is material that will push your website further down the SERPs, so if someone were issuing Anti-SEO then your website may fall from position 7 on the SERPs to position 220. Negative SEO means that your website would remain at position 7 (as per the example), but would be surrounded by other search results that are less than flattering, such as negative reviews, aggressive competitors and articles that cast your website in a negative light.

Who Is Doing It?

There has to be somebody who is issuing all of this bad PR about your website (Public Relations, not PageRank). It is your job to find out who is issuing all of the negative press. If it is multiple users then there is a problem with your service/website/product that you should fix. If it is one of your competitors then you have a problem. If it is one or two disgruntled people then do not worry too much, as they will soon get tired of issuing negative SEO, and they are unlikely to know how to keep their negative SEO ranked highly enough in the SERPs to affect you.

Why Are They Doing It?

If it is multiple people, then your website, product or service should be examined to find out and fix any problems you are having. Once you fix the problems with your website/service/products -- then the negative SEO will disappear. If your competitor is issuing your negative SEO then you need to make it as difficult and expensive for them to do so as possible.

Where Are They Attacking You From?

You may find that the negative SEO that follows your website is only coming from one or two domain names. You must identify which domain names are causing the problem, so that you may fight your fight in the right area. For example, if one domain name has seven negative reviews on your products that keep appearing on Google's SERPs then you should hire writers to write 14 positive reviews about your product on that same domain name.

You Have Time On Your Side

Your competitor's budget for attacking you will eventually expire, as it is expensive to maintain any form of negative press campaign. Any disgruntled employees or customers will eventually get bored of writing negative press.

Do It To Them If They Are Doing It To You

If your competitors are writing negative SEO about you -- then hire some writers to write it about them. Force them to assign their negative-press budget onto recovering from their own negative SEO. Your efforts may end up having such a detrimental effect on your competitors that they can no longer afford to fund the negative SEO campaign they are using against you.


Find out who is writing the negative SEO and why. Remember that bad press will eventually disappear, but try to find the cause and fix the problem at its root. Find out where the negative SEO is coming from and fight your battle on the correct field. Consider creating negative SEO for the people who are doing it to you, or simply ignore your negative SEO and concentrate on thrilling your customers to the point where they go online and write positive SEO of their own free will.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy A Brief Guide To Online Reputation Management

Charles Dearing

 Charles Dearing is a website development business consultant. He contributes regularly on some of the top internet marketing and seo blogs including the SEARCH ENGINE PEOPLE Blog.

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One Response to “Saving Your Website From Negative SEO”

  1. Keila says:

    I strongly disagree with "If it is one or two disgruntled people then do not worry too much, as they will soon get tired of issuing negative SEO, and they are unlikely to know how to keep their negative SEO ranked highly enough in the SERPs to affect you." Even if there are only a few disgruntled customers, it's important to address as many issues as you can when they're presented to you! Rather than waiting for them to "get tired of issuing negative SEO" why not take a more proactive approach and see what can be done to rectify that individual's problem. Just because they are the only ones to actively and visibly be upset about it doesn't mean that there aren't other people who feel similarly and are observing silently, or offline. To disregard such feedback is Marketer Negligence!

    Rather than "do it to them" if they're "doing it to you," why not just call them out on it? We're all adults here, so what's with the childish "you did it to me, so I'm less at fault for retaliating in the same way" stuff that's being promoted here? Clearly this blog is lesser quality than I initially thought…Great job promoting tactics that could potentially ruin a company's SEO rank if they were found to be posting fraudulent/slanderous reviews and comments.