Hold Your SEO Client Hostage With Negative SEO Threats

Jan 17, 2014 • 8:05 am | comments (17) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

SEO ThreatA WebmasterWorld thread has a story of a webmaster who received a phone call from someone with an Indian accent threatening to use negative SEO on their site if they don't pay up. A form of search pirates, if you will.

This is what the webmaster's client said:

So I had a client phone me today and say he had a call from a guy with an Indian accent who told him that he will destroy his website rankings if he doesn't pay him £10 per month to NOT do this. What the hell...

This is not new, we've covered stories like this before. Threats to use the disavow tool against you, well you can't. Threats of negative SEO and much more.

What can you do? Well, you can monitor your new links in Google Webmaster Tools and anything that looks bad, add them to your disavow link file. It shouldn't cost or take too much time to do that.

Of course, Google has said time and time again that while negative SEO is hard it is possible.

Which is why they came out with the disavow link tool.

So track your new links in Google Webmaster Tools and disavow the bad new links.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: January 16, 2014


Ramesh Nair

01/17/2014 01:21 pm

The rotten apples among Indian SEOs are giving a bad name for the entire industry from the country. First the never-ending spam and now the threats. Sigh.

Alexander Hemedinger

01/17/2014 03:08 pm

Barry I think you meant to put (shouldn't) there? "It should cost or take too much time to do that."

Barry Schwartz

01/17/2014 03:09 pm

:) thanks again

Alexander Hemedinger

01/17/2014 03:15 pm

Yep always here to help haha! :)

Paul Clough

01/17/2014 04:54 pm

The craziest part about this is that paying £10 a month to stop someone doing that is cheaper than checking if they have!!

Stuart McHenry

01/17/2014 05:57 pm

"It shouldn't cost or take too much time to do that." I'm not so sure about that. Someone did this to a client of ours. 3,800+ domains later it took us a few days to sort through all these links. I really hate how this negative SEO works. I've seen it happen to a handful of websites in the past 5-6 months. These links are bad. Forum spam, hacked websites mostly all from .kr, .pl domains but not limited. No company should have to waste any resources trying to recovery from a negative SEO attack. Nor should they lose their rankings because of it.

Sebbi Bastie

01/18/2014 10:01 am

Yeah Stuart, that's the point, it tooks me days, to get all those bad links, and the attack goes on, every month tenthousend of new bad links. I've disavowed them long before showing up in webmaster tools, but the site did not recover from algorithmic penguin penalty.

Gracious Store

01/19/2014 01:16 am

Can people be so mean as to spend their time in negative SEO just destroy another person's hard work? Could these negative SEO be done by competitors or SEO company just to get even with a site owner who refused to hire them? This is being too mean and getting too low for a responsible person

Pawel Reszka

01/20/2014 04:32 am

Why am I not surprised?

Kevin Anchi

01/20/2014 04:33 am

Yes this is very possible, cause there are people who don't have ethics and morality, they only want money and they screw the local as well as international as the internet has given them the liberty to do so :) well anyways.... on technical level this can be over come I guess, not a big deal.

Christopher Skyi

01/28/2014 06:30 pm

Sounds like just a threat to me, like pointing a fake gun at someone, or sticking your finger in someone's back and saying 'give me all your money or else.' I think Matt Cutts is correct that negative SEO a rare bird (Google has taken a close look at published case studies of negative seo and has found none of them credible -- see: news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5813306). But if people believe it can happen, at least to the extent that it can significantly hurt them, these extortion attempts will work. I say call the guys bluff, report him to Google (or out him publicly on the Google Webmaster Forums) and if you know the extortionist's address, report them to the local authorities, if possible, because last I check, extortion is serious criminal offence . . .

Jake Luces

02/24/2014 05:27 am

Possible! Thanks for this advise.

Daniel Delos

03/01/2014 07:23 pm

I can't imagine anyone actually paying. Hopefully Google can come up with better solutions to combat negative SEO. Apparently the disavow can take 6-12 months which is ridiculous if it's supposed to be able to combat negative SEO like this.

Daniel Delos

03/01/2014 07:27 pm

Maybe it's a rare bird but it's not a fake gun. There are plenty of 'SEO' services that don't care if they're blasting links for intentional negative SEO or... unintentional negative SEO.

Don Dikaio

06/05/2014 03:07 pm

I for one am tired of Indian and Pakistani companies doing this. It's immoral, it's as if some of these people would sell their Mother for money. I understand it's hard in Pakistan and India but you don't see people from Mexico, China or the Philippines doing this. I don't mean to come off as stereotyping the whole country because I know that's not the case. My wife is Indian, we married in Mumbai. I work with my brother in law on a weekly basis doing web development and seo, he wouldn't think of doing negative seo on sites. I just happens to be that all the spam asking for work are from Indian or Pakistan companies or from Indian/Pakistan companies acting like Americans or Europeans. They should feel ashamed of themselves. - edit typos

Lyuben G. - SEO PAL

06/10/2014 07:20 am

I can't believe there are "SEO experts" threatening webmasters like this. I am not quite sure about this, but is there any way to protect yourself from such extortion?


06/10/2014 09:13 am

Of course this is done. And it will extend too. Thats what happens if you attack the hyperlink as google did. And the disavow tool is USELESS. It takes google ages to index all links. This can be months or even years! So every day new toxic links are indexed by google bit by bit. And each single one of those can cause punishment. And each day you have to add the newly indexed links after testing them if they arent rightfully organic. This is hell of a work and in most cases only works after google rolls out a new Algo update. This again can be a year. In these 2 years for the worst case (if even possible) any business is out of the game. DISAWOV IS A USELESS HALFBAKED EXCUSE OF A TOOL! Stopp punishing google, you attack the main basis of the internet and you made companys blackmailable. All that only to push adwords IMO. sincerly sam

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