At first glance, being able to block bad links for negative SEO seems like a great idea. After all, if someone or some website is deliberately trying to spam your website for their own personal gain, shouldn’t Google know about this? It’s almost like being back in grade school—if the kid sitting next to you took your crayons and you don’t tell the teacher, you may have to wait a long time and a half box of crayons before the teacher notices. And if that kid uses these crayons to create a more colorful picture than your own, well, the teacher might be too late.
Coloring and grade school aside, negative SEO is a real and serious issue. For this reason, Google has finally decided to create a tool for webmasters that allows them to tell Google to stop counting certain incoming links to your site that you are not condoning. Overall, this new change appears to benefit users of Google as well as good, quality sites that are getting hit by negative SEO.
Why Blocking Bad Links May Not Be As Great as It Appears
For those who are unfamiliar, negative SEO refers to when someone either hacks into your account to make negative changes, reports your website to Google just to get you in trouble, or when someone purchases spam links and then points them to your site (or other sites that they see as competition). Negative SEO is becoming more and more of a problem as the competition for search rankings increases; so many are excited about the upcoming chance to prevent negative SEO by helping Google. This link tool is still in the works, but according to Matt Cutts it will likely be available in the next few months.
However, many are finding that this new tool isn’t quite the savior that many assume. Below lists a few of the major downsides to Google putting this kind of power and responsibility in the hands of webmasters:
- Hard to Manage – Certain black hat SEO tools, such as Xrumer, create hundreds of thousands of spam links every month. This is entirely too much for a small or medium sized business to handle.
- Temptation – Most agree that the temptation will be to say that all links are bad. If Google takes this into account, whether the links are bad or not, many links that are legitimate will be discounted; thus putting the Google ranking system at risk.
- Undo Spam – Many are concerned that webmasters will just build tons of spammy links and if they get penalized, they can just undo any bad links they had built.
- Amount of Work – Some see this as a way for Google to get “free work” out of users. Although some users may like this, others would prefer Google come up with a solution to determine bad backlinks (one that doesn’t involve constant work by the webmasters).
As a whole, it seems that this new tool still leaves many questions unanswered. Although it may seem like a brilliant idea at the outset, we do not yet know how Google plans to regulate the tool and keep things under control.
Do you think it’s a good idea to allow webmasters to comment on negative SEO links? Do you feel that this could spiral out of control if people get too excited about reporting “bad” links?