Can SEO Services Sabotage a website ?
I think many SEO providers come across this question asked by the customer : “My website ranks lower than my competitors, can you help me to take down my competitor who rank higher than me ?” Generally my answer is “No” , although I know it is possible but I won’t do that, simply because of business ethics.
How will it possible ? In general ,this is called “Negative SEO” or “SEO Sabotage” . It means using un-ethical way to shoot down a website listing in search engine. Of course, it will not so easy. If you want to sabotage a website, the pre-requested condition is you can access to the website, and adding some code to prevent Google crawl it, for example, robots.txt file.
However, Robots.txt won’t be so effective. From my past experiences, robots.txt can prevent Google Spider to crawl it, but if your website is already rank in Google, the robots.txt cannot stop Google to display the result which is already crawled by Google Spider in previous attempts.
Recently we get a SEO project to optimize 6 hotels and resort (in 6 domains) which is under a well-known brand name in Malaysia. The client complain that the previous SEO provider (“N” company) didn’t perform well and that’s why he decided to switch to us.
After 2 week the client switched to us, we found that the listing on Google disappear – not only one hotel’s listing, but ALL six domains are no longer there, even you type the domain name , the Google Search Result also doesn’t display any single domain – it was really a disaster to the client ! Just imagine people type the hotel name in Google and cannot find it , how a big shame to the client !
I reported this to the client and I said I suspect the previous SEO company did it. My client asked how this could happen ? I answered, the client has inserted the Google webmaster code inside the websites, acting as the website’s owner and request Google to remove the website from Google search results. I have login to the webmaster tool and show these “removal requests” to the client. And of course, I requested Google to re-include them back. Just a few days, Google re-include all the 6 domain listing back.
I don’t know my client will take legal action against the “N” company , but indeed , “Negative SEO” or so call “SEO Sabotage”, may becoming “hot” in Malaysia market in view of there are so many un-qualified SEO company/consultant in Malaysia are doing unqualified SEO jobs.
I don’t want to go very details how Negative SEO works (that’s why in the real case above I won’t tell in details). But in general, SEO can sabotage a website only by inserting a code in to the website. Now, you may asked “Is it possible to sabotage a website WITHOUT inserted any code ?” My answer is YES but it will be much more difficult, I will rather keep this as a secret. Sorry for not disclose it.