If you have competitors, watch out! Your number one rankings may disappear overnight if your competitors decide to play dirty. You see… in the old days, Google made is difficult for competitors to sabotage each other through black-hat or spammy techniques because it was primarily the algorithm that prevented link juice to be passed.
Today, however, it’s a different story because now you have Google’s search quality team taking manual action against sites with “unnatural” links. Manual penalties have been around for years, but things are heating up. Google is taking this war against unnatural link building head on, and they aren’t playing nice anymore. They’re being proactive and taking swift action against anyone they think is breaking their guidelines for link building.
With that said, I would warn site owners to stay on top of their search rankings, traffic stats, and PageRank. These are all things that can be affected by a Google penalty as a result of someone trying to sabotage you. Also, if you have Webmaster Tools installed, Google will provide feedback on what they feel are questionable links to your site. If you see links to your site that look unusual to you, you should investigate the issue.
With manual penalties in the forefront of Google’s war against unnatural links, we may see an increase in competitors playing dirty for search result domination.
Some ways that a competitor may try to sabotage another website:
- Buy a bunch of spammy links through a link network.
- Buy some sponsored guest posts through a guest blogging network.
- Post a bunch of poor quality articles on multiple article directories.
- Buy a bunch of links on unrelated sites.
- Buy a bunch of links using keyword-rich anchor text.
- Send a bunch of low quality or fake traffic to the site.
These dirty tricks may not have worked before, but today, there is a real chance that it can work due to Google’s manual action.
I hope Google has thought this through before handing out penalties.