A Quick Overview of Negative SEO and Blending SEO and PR Strategies


There’s an incredible amount of overlap between search engine optimization and public relations. Both practices concern getting your message out and maintaining a positive brand image.

Nowadays, it’s important to blend those two strategies together for optimal results. In this blog, we’ll explain some of the threats you’ll have to deal with and how you can overcome them with a holistic campaign.

Negative press

Let’s start with negative press since that’s something you’re likely familiar with. It can come in many different forms — a product malfunction, mistreatment of employees, or insensitive comments.

Businesses need public relations to handle these mishaps and make sure they don’t happen again.

Negative SEO

Negative SEO is sneakier, more malicious, and potentially more damaging than negative press. It happens when a business dominates important keywords in an industry, and its competitors launch a campaign against them.

This Search Engine Journal article talks about the effects of negative SEO. According to the article, defending businesses have to deal with spammy links, fake reviews, and website hacks:

“But sometimes — not often, mind you — you get on the wrong side of someone who doesn’t share your scruples. They play dirty. They might try to bog down your website with hundreds of spammy links, flood Yelp with fake reviews, or just hack your website outright. Fortunately, if you’re diligent, you can usually catch malicious SEO attacks before they do irreparable harm.”

Negative SEO isn’t something you want to underestimate. All your SEO progress can be wiped out within a week if a campaign successfully targets yours.

Spotting negative SEO early 

The best defense against negative SEO is early detection. In particular, look out for these signs:

  • Removal of your website’s strongest links
  • A wave of new spammy links to your site
  • Seemingly fake social media profiles following your brand
  • Unauthorized re-posting of your content
As long as you review your SEO campaign regularly, you should be able to spot these signs early.

Blending SEO and PR 

Once you know you’re fighting against negative SEO, you have to go into defense mode. The best strategy in this respect calls for a blend of SEO and PR.

First, you need SEO to take care of the links problem. Try to get the spammy links removed and make sure you have full control over your content. Also, make sure your strongest backlinks remain intact.

If you take care of the technical aspects but your brand is still bleeding, then you’ll have to turn to PR. This recent Search Engine Land article explains how a good PR strategy can inform your SEO campaign:

“This is where public relations comes in, because it focuses on getting real humans who work at legitimate, authoritative publications genuinely interested in and talking about your story. It’s about truly adding value, which in turn tends to generate inbound links, as opposed to simply producing garbage links on websites that no one visits.”

Negative SEO campaigns are inherently at a huge disadvantage because they don’t have access to any authoritative sites. The people behind them are just hoping that you won’t notice their black-hat tactics.

A good PR campaign will address this weakness and neutralize the entire campaign. By launching your campaign, you’ll get authoritative publications to talk about your story. You’ll tell your side of what’s going on and the links created by these sites will have a bigger impact than the negative SEO campaign ever could.

And those fake social media profiles? You can either talk to the site directly and have them removed, or wait for your PR campaign to discredit them completely.

Negative SEO is a problem, but it’s an easily solvable one if you know what you’re doing. To talk more about search engine optimization and public relations, or anything else, contact us today.

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