SEO, most people believe, is about volume and only volume. As a result, techniques like aggressive and malicious backlink spamming is becoming more and more common. This leads to negative SEO that can completely destroy your website.
With negative SEO you lose visibility to organic search and also lose a sizeable portion of your income. There are, however, several ways to protect your site from negative SEO.
Understanding negative SEO
Negative SEO is using another website, usually a competitor, to implement black hat SEO methods. The goal of black hat SEO is to pull the rankings of your competitor’s website. This can lead to a response that includes fake reviews, spam links and even hacking your website. You can also get penalties from search engines that will dip your rankings considerably.
There are some methods that you can use to protect your website from negative SEO:
- Conduct link audits regularly: For any business, link audits are very useful. It prevents you from becoming a victim of any negative SEO practice. Suspicious activities can be spotted easily as they show a sudden spike or drop in link building progress.
- Check your site speed regularly: Any sudden sluggishness in your website is an indication of possible negative SEO activity. Using crawling software will help you understand if forceful crawling has been applied on your site. This puts a lot of load on your website, leading it to crash eventually. If you detect any crawling attack, immediately contact your webmaster and hosting company to check where the load is coming from.
- Is your content being scraped? Scrapping content means copying your content onto another website. They may also perform link farm attack. If the copied content is index before yours, then the value of your website drops. Software like Copyscape will help you determine if your content has been copied. You can then contact the website that has copied content or report them through Google’s Copyright Removal form.
- Check for excessive negative comments: Unless you have landed in a PR controversy, a sudden surge of negative reviews and comments will hurt your SEO rankings. This is usually a negative SEO attack. To check for any negative review surge, look for your business on Google maps. In the search results, choose your business and check the review summary. You can flag fake comments and report them to Google.
- Check your keyword CTR: It is possible to program bots for certain keywords. Then these bots are made to bounce when they land on a certain page. This has a negative influence on rankings. A keyword CTR analysis will tell you if there is an unusual spike. Then, you can contact Google to disallow any offensive link.
Improve the security: Keeping your software upgraded and adding security patches will help prevent negative SEO. Migrating to HTTPs is a good idea if you are getting any confidential data from customers. A cyber-attack is not a negative SEO activity but can have a huge impact on your rankings.