Beware of a ‘Negative SEO’ Scam

Please be aware that there are ‘Negative SEO’ extortion emails currently circulating. These may represent a real risk to your business.
What is Negative SEO ?
Google has been penalising websites it believes don’t comply with its ‘WebMaster Quality Guidelines‘  Unfortunately it is possible make an ‘innocent’ website appear to be non-compliant, and after Google applies a penalty, that site’s exposure can be dramatically reduced, along with the businesses online commercial opportunities.
Google have historically dismissed the existence of Negative SEO, and even their current position remains ambivalent. There is growing speculation among the SEO Community that Google’s penalty strategy is to covertly drive businesses to use its primary income stream – AdWords – rather than rely on ‘uncertain’ organic search.
Are you already penalised ?
I’m surprised by the number of websites that are already unknowingly being impacted by Google penalties. Many don’t realise that there is increasing aspects of traditional website ‘craft’ that may put your website and business at risk for example:
  • Innocent acknowledgements of your business (eg sponsorship on a local sporting club site)
  • Submitting your business to ‘low quality’ directory sites
  • Footer Links from other sites
  • Website defects
  • Poor mobile device support
  • Commonly re-used content eg supplier provided product information
  • Slow or unreliable web hosting
  • and many more…
What can you do ?
If you receive a Negative SEO extortion email you could:

– Ignore it… (high risk)
– Take Google’s suggestion “report it to law enforcement” (good luck with that 😉
– If the senders email is a GMail email account report it  
– Report it to your Internet Marketer

My advice is ‘Be Prepared’ 
Sadly Google doesn’t normally declare if it has penalised your site, so removing one starts with trying to determine which penalty maybe the problem. Monitoring your site’s performance over time enables traffic drops to be accurately matched to Google updates, giving your Internet Marketer a head start on identifying which penalty has been applied and maybe how to solve it.
Am I already penalised ?
If you believe your website under-performs contact me and I can provide a quick ‘penalty risk’ evaluation
If that raises any red flags then I can research and provide a detailed report including a penalty removal strategy
Here’s a sample of a Negative SEO Extortion Email

The email reads:

Subject: I Want To Buy. Please Guide Me.
Hello,
Read this email very carefully.
This is an extortion email.
We will do NEGATIVE SEO to your website by giving it 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks (permanent & mostly dofollow) pointing directly to your website and hence your website will get penalised & knocked off the Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) forever, if you do not pay us $1,500.00 (payable by Western Union).
This is no false claim or a hoax, download the following Notepad file containing 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks pointing to http://www.negativeseo.cn.pn/ (this is our website and go and see on this website, you will find our email address issmt1@yahoo.com from which this email right now is being sent to you) :
http://www.mediafire.com/download/eizjwnpq2rsrncu/20000-XRumer-Forum-Profile-Backlinks-Dofollow.txt
Just reply to this email to let us know if you will pay just $1,500.00 or not for us to refrain or not from ruining your precious website & business permanently. Also if you ignore this email and do not reply to this email within the next 24-48 hours, then we will go ahead and build 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks pointing directly to your website.
We are awaiting your wise decision.
RS

April 2017 Update

The guys at www.siteoscope.com have a great post on anti-SEO prevention strategies that is well worth a read

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