An SEO content production company, Healthline, has been allegedly caught in the middle of an email blackmail SEO scam.
In recent years, there has been a rise of unscrupulous SEO scammers who email as many people as they can find in order to try and scam a backlink or two.
To do this, they will claim to point millions of negative SEO backlinks back to your site. In an effort to permanently tank your rankings.
The scam works like this:
Basically, the scammer emails you – usually from a contact form – about requesting a link.
They will usually ask for a dofollow link. Of course, dofollow links do not exist in the technical term. That is the default crawling behavior from Google (another sign you’re dealing with an idiot).
They attempt to scam a few online reviews as well.
Then after the pitch comes the threat. If you do not comply with these “requests” which have now turned into a threatening demand, they threaten that they will create a million toxic blog comment spam and redirect links to your site.
They will also claim that this will tank your Google rankings.
An Experience With a Client
We recently had an experience where an unscrupulous SEO decided to email one of our clients with one of these scams.
Thankfully, said client is more savvy about SEO than others.
But this is a ridiculous situation where the scammer is trying to score backlinks by using threats and intimidation.
This is not SEO. This is outright blackmail.
We believe that there should be consequences for such behavior.
What Does John Mueller Say?
In 2018, one SEO pro asked John Mueller about these types of negative SEO attacks.
John said you can just ignore it.
You can just ignore it.
— 🦝 John (personal) 🦝 (@JohnMu) December 14, 2018
Other forum discussions across the industry point to a general rise in such threats. For example:
What is the Best Way to Solve This?
We recommend continuing to build your backlink profile with strong, stable backlinks. And, to keep an eye on your overall backlinks just in case you do get hit with some negative SEO.
Then, you can disavow any links that come in if it makes you feel better.
Overall, though, you can (mostly) ignore any of these types of emails as they come in.
But, it’s still a good idea to continue spot-checking your backlinks for any strange activity.