It would seem that the SEO world is being disturbed by a very interesting study created by a couple of SEO’s with regards to Negative SEO.
They posited that Google is dumbing down its algorithm in favor of seo companies that are able to blast their way to the top results of the search engines by virtue of creating spammy links towards their competitors.
Pixelgrinder and I conducted a little experiment on whether negative seo was possible in the current climate – we felt it was important to know whether it was possible for a site to be negatively affected completely by outside influences. This experiment was not done with the knowledge or consent of TrafficPlanet.com owners/admin/moderators.
We carried out a massive scrapebox blast on two sites to ensure an accurate result. The two sites we chose and the reasons we chose them are as follows:
seofaststart.com (Dan Thies)
1. He has received a direct response from Matt Cutts on Twitter, so if we were able to affect his site he is more likely than most to get the ear of the right person and show google what can be done (https://twitter.com/#!/danthies/statuses/180389475497676801)
2. A self proclaimed “seo guru” (Hi, I’m Dan Thies. Although I’m best known as the “keyword guru,” I’ve been practicing, studying and teaching advanced search engine marketing strategy and tactics for several years http://www.seoresearchlabs.com/) – it should be harder than most to affect the site of an “seo guru”.
3. If it works, he should be smart enough to profit from all of the publicity he would get out of it.
4. He already has several domains 301d to seofaststart.com without penalty (not a white hat tactic) – we were wondering if he had been ‘protected’ in some way.
5. He is a suck-up-brown-noser, smugly bad mouthing everyone and crowing that “many pants are being pooped and it’s long overdue” – we don’t like him.
1. They are selling services for negative seo under the tagline “destroy your competitors”.
Rankings Before (22nd March):
dan thies – number 1
seo – number 11
seo service – number 34
seo book – number 3
negative seo – number 2
destroy your competitiors – number 1
15th March – Dan Thies posts smug tweets to Matt Cutts and pisses off the entire internet.
18th March – seofaststart.com – blog posts started – anchor text “seo” “seo service” and “seo book”
22th March – seofaststart.com – 1 million scrapebox blast started – 100% anchor text “Dan Thies”
24th March – negativeseo.com – 1 million scrapebox blast started – 100% anchor text “destroy your competitors”
26th March – Dan Thies posts in Twitter that he has received an unnatural links message.
Note: 18th March – seofaststart blog posts started. This was NOT US. We had previously decided that it would be risky to ‘out’ the blogs that links were getting placed on and agreed not to include blog posts in our experiment. We don’t know who did this, how many links they built or what network/s they used. We discovered these links in ahrefs and have estimated that about 5000 links where built, probably with ALN between the 18th-23rd March.
Ranking After (18th April) note rankings are still jumping a little:
dan thies – number 1 (still number 1)
seo – not in top 1000 (down from number 11)
seo service – not in top 1000 (down from number 34)
seo book – number 34 (down from number 3)
negative seo – number 6 (down from number 2)
destroy your competitiors – number 13 (down from number 1)
Other stuff of interest right now:
ahrefs seofaststart.com (notice how few of our 1 million scapebox links have shown up!)
ahrefs negativeseo.me (notice how few of our 1 million scrapebox links have shown up!)
Dan Thies begging on google groups
Our personal message to Matt Cutts/Google:
Negative SEO is possible. Sort it out!
Our personal message to Dan Thies:
Next time you want to smugly throw your holier than thou 2 cents into the ring, think before you speak. Every backlink to your site was analyzed before starting this. Don’t think those 301d domains hide what you are doing because they don’t – you are the same as the rest of us – your methods for link bait are, in fact, worse than some of the ‘spammers’ you so often refer to. Now your pants are being pooped and it’s long overdue
The post has become a wide hit in the world of internet marketing, and following Google’s over-optimization penalty this has gone the way of creating a trend that is nowadays brought out by the changes Google churned out.
So right now we are not just going to be concerned with creating high quality links, we are also going to be concerned with making sure to report some un-natural links created towards our clients which would require us to have a really powerful backlinks checker.
To note as of current time seofaststart.com is still down with its rankings:
dan thies – 1 (only this has retained its original position)
seo – not in top 100
seo service – 43
seo book – not in top 100
My Take On This:
I personally don’t believe with negative seo until I stumbled upon this study. My initial response before was that Google will just ultimately de-index all the un-natural links created to the website involved, followed by the experience of build my rank and other similar services. Perhaps I trusted Google too much when it comes to making a website rank. But if there’s one thing to be proven when it comes to all this it is only that Google is really not helping at all with regards to spammy links and its effects.
Perhaps when Google was sending the un-natural links message they were also trying to determine where those links came from but at the same time they are not sure if those links are either created by you or not. Either way there has yet to be any reply from Matt Cutts with regards to this, and while Rand Fishkin has offered his own websites as targets it was also deemed an unfair study to begin with, being that because he named the urls they wouldn’t qualify as an experimental group.