Negative SEO Definition & Meaning

What Is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is a malicious search engine optimization practice aimed at lowering a website’s search engine rankings by getting it penalized. Negative SEO tactics make it appear like the target website is violating search engine guidelines.

Practitioners of negative SEO do things against their competitors’ websites like create duplicate content, overuse keywords in backlinks, buy or sell links at mass scale, and utilize bots to inflate a page’s click-through rates in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Negative SEO can also be used against the competition by employing malware, forcing repeated crawls, overloading a server, and causing the website to crash.

Many negative SEO methods are largely ineffective because Google and other search engines have algorithms that detect and ignore suspicious behavior. However, some negative SEO techniques are effective at harming a website’s ranking positions or organic visibility like a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

Visit the SEO Glossary

Go to the SEO Glossary to find more terms and definitions that relate to the field of search engine optimization.