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10 Reasons Negative SEO is Probably Illegal, Immoral, and Just an Evil Thing to Do


Posted on by admin | in longhorn

Negative SEO practices have recently made headlines again, sparking renewed debate as to not only their effectiveness but their legality. To be fair, negative SEO is not “absolutely” illegal. That is, not all practices that fall under the umbrella term are criminal in nature. Some aren’t even malicious in intent. In fact, certain practices actually have legitimate uses. Still, many negative SEO tactics are of course illegal, while still more are at minimum morally and legally questionable, with most of those examples contravening search engine guidelines. Bottom line here: there’s a good number of reasons to avoid engaging in the majority of negative SEO practices. Here are ten such reasons:

  1. As stated above, most of the practices that constitute negative SEO will in one way or another violate the guidelines of major search engines. Manipulation of backlinks, for example, is apt to get a website blacklisted, or sandbox-ed.
  2. DoS or DDoS are examples of illegal forms of negative SEO. Any form of denial of service, or distributed denial of service, is considered a violation of the IAB proper internet use policies and ISP policies, in addition to violation of the law in most nations.
  3. Content can be scraped from a victim’s website and indexed before the target’s content is itself indexed, thereby leaving the victim’s content appearing as duplicate content to SE crawlers. So the perpetrator is not only plagiarizing content, but at the same time being credited as the originator by the SE’s, plus getting their target website penalized for posting “duplicate” content.
  4. Negative SEO is more likely to affect the kinds of sites who can least afford to be victimized by it. Larger, more established websites which enjoy a level of authority within their community are more likely to be able to survive such tactics than smaller sites attempting to gain a foothold.
  5. Whether positive or negative, SEO practices which artificially enhance or degrade a website’s standing, irrespective of the site’s intrinsic value, are not what legitimate site owners or users want to see. Sites should be graded on their own merit rather than how their owners game the system.
  6. Insofar as it has the potential to directly impact the financial solvency of businesses that are targeted by it and, by extension, a nation’s economy, negative SEO should be deemed illegal purely on those grounds alone.
  7. False testimonials, whether positive or negative, by owners of a website, and for the purpose of reviewing a product or company, are illegal. Also, reviews by people who have not used a product are illegal.
  8. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is a form of negative SEO wherein the attacker takes advantage of a security vulnerability of the target website, and injects client-side script which can create all sorts of havoc. This is another tactic that is patently illegal.
  9. From the standpoint of SERPs (search engine results pages), negative SEO of any kind is illicit in that it attempts to alter the rankings by pushing other sites down in order to improve one’s own site.
  10. Black social bookmarking is when an attacker sets up phony profiles in social networking sites in order to set up spammy links to the target website in order to get it flagged, de-listed, or banned by search engines. This violates the SE’s guidelines, TOS of the social media, not to mention the law.
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