The Dangers of Negative SEO (Or Why You Need Reputation Management)
Recently, Google made a decision which greatly affects everyone who does business online. They decided to hand Google Bowling back to the bad guys and that’s bad news for you. So just what is Google Bowling? Glad you asked. Here’s what you need to know:
<h2>Back in the Mid Aughts</h2>
To understand the concept behind Google Bowling, we need to head back to the year 2005. Or really, even further back to around the year 2000 when Google was first created. Until Google arrived on the scene, most search engines of the time made use of meta tags to figure out what to show you online. This led to a problem whereby unscrupulous operators would pad their meta tag listings with keywords that had nothing to do with what they were selling (i.e. porn operators would put in “office supplies”).
Google was the first company to decide to weigh different sites based on how many links pointed to it. In essence, their idea was that a link was a “vote” for a particular web page. Enter the bad guys once again, who figured out that they were able to use pages filled with links pointing to your page to create the links which counted as “votes” according to Google.
Okay, now to the mid aughts. Around 2005 or thereabouts, Google’s engineers decided to introduce an algorithm change which caused websites to be demoted if they had junk links like the ones described above pointing to them. The idea was to finally do away with the scourge of link farms (websites whose sole purpose was to offer links to other sites and get “votes” for Google).
Predictably, the bad guys entered the scene and found a way to exploit what Google had done. Now, instead of using those link farms to point to their own sites, they’d use them to point to competitor sites, thus getting them demoted in the rankings and (at least in theory) getting their own sites upgraded to higher levels. This was known as Google Bowling.
Google’s engineers soon decided that to combat Google Bowling, they would simply ignore junk links pointing to a site and only count the good links.
<h2>And Then 2013 Happened</h2>
Last year, Google completely changed the way they do things online. A number of different methods were introduced to ensure that content that was served to people was good quality. However, one thing they did was to once again start counting junk links as a penalty against good websites. In other words, they re-introduced Google Bowling.
<h2>How Reputation Management with Links Can Help</h2>
Now while Google does offer the disavow tool to get junk links someone else put up not to count against you, it’s difficult and time consuming to use. They do say that they’ll look at a site’s total link package though to try to determine if the junk links are indeed Google Bowling or just you trying to game the system.
This means effectively that one way to combat the problem is to use a reputation management service which creates links for you from high PR pages which are good quality and relevant, thus obviating the problem of negative SEO through Google Bowling.