There are tons of methods for search engine deoptimization, negative SEO, or black hat strategies (however, you’d like to call it). Why is it essential to know these? The better understanding of what negative SEO is, the more efficient you’ll be in your positive SEO tactics, and spotting when you’re being targeted. Let’s take a look at some items that are classified as search engine deoptimization.

Distributing Duplicate Content

No one wants or likes duplicate content. While yes, there are only a certain number of ways you can say something, this doesn’t mean you should throw your hands up and say okay copy and paste wins this round. Search engine deoptimization tactics such as these will get you nowhere and will start to affect your rank, if not get you delisted.

Getting A Site De-Indexed

While the process of indexing is a complicated one, those that know what to look for find it very easy to manipulate a website. A simple change to a .txt can result in a drastic ranking drop. To disallow, it can completely change how Google views and ranks your site. It could say something like avoid ranking my homepage. If this is where you want traffic to go, your SEO efforts will suffer.

Modifying Redirects

Redirects occur when someone takes one site and links it to another. In search engine deoptimization, the person will redirect your links to their site. So when someone tries to access your website, they would get a split second of ‘being redirected’ and land on their page instead. This is a clever strategy that is aimed at building PageRank, but it almost always ends badly for the SED user.

Negative Off-Site SEO

While many of the items listed above are on-site, there are methods of deoptimization off-site too. Altering content, ever so slightly, to include what is deemed spammy links would be an example of off-site SEO. Avoid link farms at all costs. While these were once considered a ‘gray hat’ method of SEO, they are not almost exclusively black hats.

Another huge tactic many will still implement today is the use of fake reviews. The problem with these is that most people are wise to them. Your customers aren’t fooled by that cheap review you paid for, they question it. As a negative SEO tactic, spamming your competition with bad, cheap reviews will come back to bite you.

Remedy if Targeted By Negative SEO

If you’re on the receiving end of a negative SEO strategy, and you’ve lost some of your rankings, there are options to rebuild. You’ll want to implement reputation management ASAP. By using online reputation management, tracking, and alerts of online mentions will be available to you. Why is this important? You’ll be able to address the negative SEO promptly while building your brand and trust with your audience. Another excellent remedy that works currently is disavowing backlinks.


When considering the use of search engine deoptimization, tread lightly. This is a dark place that while can prove to generate results, it can also be harmful to your overall SEO strategy.