Negative SEO Caught In the Wild My friend +Phil Buckley with a fascinating investigative report on a bold-faced case of attempted negative SEO targeted at small town local results. What is negative SEO? Ever since Google started getting aggressively going after sites that have suspicious backlink profiles, unscrupulous webmasters and SEOs have seen an opportunity to do in their competitors. The idea behind negative SEO is that if you can plant enough obviously manipulative links across the web to your competitor`s site, it might cause them to get a search ranking penalty from Google. There is a lot of disagreement in the SEO community over how effective negative SEO really is, but that doesn`t stop attempts at it. This particular example is interesting because it`s so highly targeted at a small, localized network. It is perhaps reflective of how important local search is becoming that someone would put this much effort into trying to game it. A couple of side tips: 1. +Phil Buckley is now an independent SEO, and one of the smartest I`ve ever met. Circle him, follow his blog (http://www.1918.com), and better yet, hire him to help your site do better in search. 2. Wondering if your site is at risk for a Google link penalty? Try http://penguinanalysis.com to get your PVS (Penguin Vulnerability Score). Now available: an exportable report showing the backlinks that are most likely to be putting you at risk!