Can competitors hurt you by pointing bad links at your site?
 by Casey Markee

Can competitors hurt you by pointing bad links at your site?

  • I'm convinced that one or more of my competitors is purposely building hundreds of low-quality, spammy links into my site to get me in trouble with Google. I've been finding sitewide links to low-quality sites with target anchor texts, some of which don't relate to my site. What can I do?

broken-links.jpgAnswer: Finding so many spammy backlinks to your site is certainly disappointing, and congrats for doing the due diligence to determine from where those links are coming. Regarding whether these bad links can interfere with your Google rankings, like most things in SEO, the answer is...maybe.

Google has always taken the stance (as early as 2007) that competitors can't intentionally send links to your site which cause you harm. The official "line" was always that their algorithm is set-up with safeguards that prevent spam bad links from taking down a single Web site, especially if that Web site has multiple links from reputable sites and it contains original content. In short, if a Web site has "earned rank" with Google, it is hard to tear down.

However, as recently as last August, evidence surfaced in a Google Webmaster Help thread that clearly moved this discussion from the "highly unlikely" camp over to the "probably possible" camp.

Specifically, well-known Google Engineer John Mueller (JohnMu) ...

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