[Disclaimer: Contributors' views are their own. They do not necessarily represent Devshed views ]
Last month I wrote an article about Google’s payday loan update which seemed to hit several sites but bypassed YouTube.
This month I have decided to go and take a look at two of the most popular press release sites and see if they have recovered from the penalty.
The 1st site I looked at was PR Newswire, who was getting an estimated 441,000 organic visits per month in May before the penalty. As you can see in the image below they are now driving an estimated 47,800 organic visits per month to the site after the penalty.
The 2nd site I have been monitoring is PR Web, one of the other big players in the Press Release niche. PR Web was getting a whopping 760,000+ estimated organic visits per month in May and since the penalty they are getting just over 34,000 estimated organic visits.
Due to these penalties both press releases companies have made sweeping changes to what they will allow to be covered in their releases moving forward.
For instance neither agency will allow releases to be published about HCG, Green Coffee Beans, Raspberry Ketone, Garcinia Cambogia, Electronic Cigarettes or Payday Loans.
Most of these products Google will happily to advertise for profit, as seen in the image below.
If you think about the implication of these penalties it should also make it pretty clear that negative seo can be applied to most anyone, regardless of the size, age or reputation of the site in question.
Let’s put this in perspective, both of these sites have millions of existing links pointing to them over the course of several years in the business. The behavior of a few black hat SEO’s out there caused the sites to lose rankings and traffic for keywords which resulted on up to a 90% drop in estimated organic traffic.
While it is unlikely this was an intentional negative SEO attempt the result was the same, the sites were penalized due to behavior outside of their direct control and links they did not build themselves.
How difficult would it be to replicate this same pattern of bad behavior and victimize other, smaller sites that are standing in the way of your rankings?
Matt Cutts put out a YouTube video discussing how negative seo is easily combated through the disavow tool and how webmasters might just find it a minor inconvenience to disavow links.
Below is a snapshot of PR Web’s 26 MILLION links across nearly 200,000 domains I am not sure about you, but I would think reviewing even 1% of those links to be more than a “minor” inconvenience, even if you are lucky enough to have a full time webmaster on your staff.
The point is no matter what you do it is in your best interest to regularly check your backlink profile in Google Webmaster tools and 3rd party tools such as Majestic Seo. Many times the penalty is not applied right away and by the time you figure out you have been a victim of negative SEO you may have to go back months to see where those links have come from.
What do you think; do you think Google has made it too easy to use negative SEO as a tactic?
I am guilty of making Google Plus jokes. I just can’t help myself, not after watching years of the internet giant attempting to break into the social networking game. Failed attempt after failed attempt have marred their history, but they finally got it as right as they ever have with G Plus (in fact it appears to be the second largest social network). Only to find out that their best is still not good enough to make them true contenders for Facebook and Twitter.