Negative SEO and How to Stop it

Negative SEO is something that is becoming a concern among some web designers and website owners. Having a designer who knows how to identify negative SEO and stop it is very valuable. This is because negative SEO can bump a website down in the rankings, thus hurting their bottom line.

It was thought to have recently happened to Expedia – Many of their pages fell down Google’s ranking because of negative SEO. The suspected reasons were that the online travel giant hired SEO professionals using old practices, Expedia didn’t get rid of links that were floating around due to old school link building practices from years ago, or someone launched a negative SEO campaign against them.

So What Happened?

After a thorough analysis of links that were linking into Expedia’s website, particularly pointing toward their Hotels page, there were many bad links leading to the site. For instance, a website that hadn’t been updated for years had a hyperlink on their page to Expedia’s Hotels page. This link was placed in the footer of the website and the text was the same color as the background. This is a very old SEO practice that web designers used many years ago in order to get the attention of search engines. While this was a practice that worked at one time, it is not effective now. In fact, it is a practice that has been long dead and it can have the same result that this practice had on Expedia.

Did this single link cause this problem? No, it didn’t. In fact, there were many links like that out there. It looked as if Expedia had not had old links related to old link building methods removed. This resulted in them having to hire a firm that could take measures to ensure those links no longer hurt Expedia.

The Solution

While what happened to Expedia appears to be an error on their part, there are individuals out there that will launch negative SEO campaigns in order to bump down another website. This can be very frustrating. However, quality web designers will use tools, such as Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Center, to identify issues. Links can be tracked and referring domains identified. By doing this, measures can be taken to ensure that any bad links that are created for the purpose of SEO do not have an impact on the website’s performance. Both Google and Bing have been ahead of the curve in this regard in order to ensure that every website owner has a fair chance at their website ranking where it should.

While the odds of being the target of a negative SEO campaign are slim, it does happen. This is why the website is frequently monitored through the various tools that have been made available by search engines.