Tip for reputation management: over-optimize a web site

At SEM Days 2012Lucian DESPOIU (Kondiment) gave this idea on an approach on how to do reputation management: over-optimize a web site.

What does this imply?

  • Google generally claims you can’t hurt a competitor’s web site by doing bad linking to it.
  • In the same time, Google does penalize web sites which do bad things on the Internet, even if they’re doing things which are not under those web site’s control (I can control my own web site, but it’s not clear if I can control links from other web sites which link to me, for example).
  • The solution for this approach is this (let’s take a political campaign as an example):
    • Someone says something nasty about you on the Internet.
    • The thing goes viral. It’s all over the place.
    • Things calm down, the page is still very visible.
    • You decide you should do something about this – you start building a lot of black-hat links (from sources like link farms, cloaking web sites, sites which do illegal stuff, sites which spam a lot – online casinos / Viagra-selling web sites).
    • The web site (hopefully) gets penalized, you are happy, the trouble link disappears.

Some thoughts on this:

  • The solution is not guaranteed – 1. You might actually succeed in promoting the annoying result even higher.
  • The solution is not guaranteed – 2. Even if you do succeed, the web site in cause can appeal to Google’s rule and remove the ban, if it’s not legitimate.
  • I don’t think it’s an ethical solution. You intentionally want to harm someone else’s web site.
  • It’s only temporary – the bans don’t last forever.
  • A warning – you need to choose your sources wisely – they really need to be black hat and the profile link unnatural (lots of links gained very fast, for example).
  • Alternative to the solution – 1. It may be simpler to first try to remove the problem
  • Alternative to the solution – 2. It may be simple, if the problem appears on Google, to try to put emphasis on other elements in the page (bring other results you own upfront and/or put Goolge Ads in the SERPs).

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