Negative SEO: Google Ignores Negative Backlinks

A negative SEO attack is something that almost all SEOs are worried about. There are agencies that concentrate on building negative backlinks to competitor websites of their clients to get an undue advantage. But with Google now being sophisticated enough, will these shady practices affect a genuine site?

According to a recent Twitter interaction that John Mueller had with a confused webmaster, these practices are easily picked up by Google Algorithms and ignored.

The subject of discussion occurred when a webmaster received a threatening email that said the website will be put under a negative SEO attack if the website doesn’t buy some of the products.

The email that looks outright spammy, was asking the webmaster for confirmation on his decision on buying the product. At one point in the email, it’s written: “I’ll start building a lot of spammy backlinks to your domain to kill your website off.”

The worried webmaster tweeted John asking whether he has to worry. “Is there anything to worry for me? received today, I have got from another person as well about 2 months ago.”

“That’s just spam — you can ignore it.” John’s initial response to this.

 He also tagged the twitter handle of the website that supposedly sent the email and asked them to “cut it out.”

In a latter tweet, John was asked by the Webmaster specifically whether a site will get affected by these negative SEO tactics.

“No. We just ignore links like that. At most, it keeps them busy doing useless things, rather than improving their business. That’s good for you, too bad for them :-),” John replied.

John’s reply is an indication that websites that follow such shady practices may suffer from their rankings in the future. Since a majority of such emails are marked as spam by the receiver, Google gets a clear indication of how to deal with such sites.

Also, if you feel your website has been targeted for negative SEO attack, especially using spammy backlinks, you always have an option to disavow them using your search console.

However, John has confirmed several times Google recognizes these negative backlinks, and it ignores them. In most cases, SEOs need not have to do anything.

 What is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is the process of using black hat SEO practices on target websites to get them penalized by Google. Negative SEO can be practiced to reduce or disable a website’s SEO properties. Finding negative SEO practices on a website and tackling them can be quite tricky since they aren’t easy to detect. The effects of negative SEO can only be detected when a website dips in its search ranking and organic traffic. 

Why Would Someone Commit Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is carried out by people with the motive to sabotage a competitor’s website, extort money illegally or just to have fun by creating trouble for them. However, there are also chances of negative SEO happening unintentionally. These cases prevail when website owners involve in black hat SEO practices to improve their website ranking quickly.



Dileep Thekkethil

Dileep Thekkethil, a Journalism Postgraduate, was formerly with a US-based online magazine, is the Associate Director, Digital Content at Stan Ventures. He is a frequent blogger who keeps a tab on the latest updates in SEO and technology arena. Reach me @Mail | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook or View all posts by Dileep


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