Dejan SEO recently shared an extortion email that they received from a negative SEO spammer.
They are threatening to send a XRumer blast to DejanSEO.com.au unless they receive $1,500USD.
Scary stuff indeed.
In the old days, SEO was fun because it could only help you, not actively hurt you.
Blast 400 domains to a new site? Go for it! Hire somebody to build 100 directories for $5? Sure, why not.
Looking at new backlinks used to be exciting. If you run a big site nowadays you are probably holding your breath every time you open up a recent backlink report.
As Google gets more aggressive on anchor text and blog posts, negative SEO attacks become more valuable and easier to execute.
Links used to only help you. Now 75% of links can only hurt you.
Learning SEO gives you a lot of power to help improve a website’s search visibility but manual penalties and Penguin also give you a lot of power to do damage to other people’s websites. You can weaponize SEO into a tool to knock off competitors.
To me, the scariest thing about negative SEO is how well it scales.
Think about your traditional SEO agency. You’ve got to figure out how to build quality links in a number of different industries. You need lots of top notch website copy. You need development and design help.
A negative SEO agency needs a few pieces of software and a rudimentary understanding of Google’s algorithm.
There’s a tipping point that the SEO industry is approaching where the numbers look better knocking off 15 competitors with negative SEO instead of investing in trying to naturally outrank them through traditional SEO.
You can build 10,000 links in XRumer for less than the cost of an infographic or a well-written blog post.
When Google guesses at the intent of a link, they open the door for a new era of weaponized SEO. These extortion emails might not work against an SEO company but send hundreds to a bunch of small businesses and I bet you’ll get a few hits.