Companies Offer to Damage Your Competitors Search Engine Rankings

Jun 27, 2007 • 6:57 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search & Web SEO Spam

A Search Engine Watch Forums thread has discussion about a service one member was offered.

In short, the service is composed of two offerings:

(1) Damage your competitor's search engine rankings (2) Protect your own search engine rankings

They use threats in their email marketing message, such as "Pay up or have your forum spammed!" and "Your forum will be spammed in the next few days" and then "Pay up to this url or have your forum heavily spam."

What should you do if you get such an email? Forward it to Google or let me know.

But seriously, all you need to do is "just hit the delete button," as forum administrator, Robert Kerry said.

The big question is, can a competitor hurt your rankings? We discussed this most recently in August 2006 and October 2006. I mentioned that Google has a FAQ that addresses just that.

What can I do if I'm afraid my competitor is harming my ranking in Google?
There's almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you're concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don't control the content of these pages.

"Almost nothing" are the words used here, so technically, it is possible.

Forum discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums.

Previous story: Reports of More Google Hijacks via Proxy Sites


David Eaves

06/27/2007 11:24 am

I am pretty sure that there is nothing anyone can do to hurt anyones rankings, Google have been very clever the way they have set the algo up, sometimes if I site is getting heavily SEO'd there are instances where one to many exact match search phrase text links can trip a filter and cause a site to drop, but the site will only drop to the position it was in priar to the new SEO links being built, so in short no you can't hurt your competitors rankings.

Barry Schwartz

06/27/2007 12:18 pm

Did you read Google's FAQ?

David Eaves

06/28/2007 12:18 am

Sounding like a bit of a fan boy there aren't I, it's what I truly believe though, saying that though I am having problems with one of pages not ranking at the moment: And I think it might be because of these Chinese scumbags nicking my content: I have changed the content to try and get out of it, but G doesn't crawl my site very often these days due to me never touching it.

David Eaves

06/28/2007 12:05 pm

What I meant to say was that I don't think it is possible to drop someones website via links, I don't really understand 302 hijacks, so I can't really comment on that.


06/29/2007 01:47 am

Sorry to come over as a bit of a spoilsport but there's a blatant mix of naiveté and faulty logic that's been dominating this discourse for years. Google's monitoring specific verticals such as "real estate", right? (At least, Matt Cutts is reported to have said as much at SMX Advanced 2007.) So guess how this is done? And what about the infamous "bad neighborhood penalty"? Of course, PageRank as the be all end all ranking factor has always been overrated and is still being hyped cluelessly as part and parcel of the prevailing link hysteria and fetishism - but that won't absolve us from the fact that links CAN and actually DO hurt. Guess what will happen if your squeaky clean organic site on toddler apparel suddenly gets hit with tens of thousands of links coming from domains of the "" ilk? Tons of them? Each and every day, sustained over say 3 to 4 weeks? Worse even: What if you're actually running a legitimate, white hat real estate site? Ever heard of trackback spam? Of Black Social Bookmarking? I guess not. And yes, there's 302 hijacking as well. And tons of other stuff this isn't the place to discuss. So let's get real - just like everywhere in life, anything that can help can hurt as well if only applied accordingly. And don't get me wrong: It's not my intention to scare the horses. But adopting the old ostrich strategy won't help you one bit if some of your more desperate or hard hitting competitors should decide to seriously play dirty...

Matt Cutts

02/29/2008 05:03 pm

I think it was back live at around 3 p.m. yesterday. There were no changes to our policy, just a url that was unavailable for a while, although we might fold that Q/A into longer-term.


09/24/2008 10:03 pm

Competitors can affect your Google ranking. All they have to is wigetbait you. It makes it look like you are abusing this and google drops your ratings. Not fair, Not fair , Not fair. This need to be fixed !

jeannette mcneil

03/11/2009 02:35 pm

What would stop a competitor from over-submitting another website. If the ability to submit any url is there, why would it be so hard to conceive?

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