When it comes to SEO, it is usually considered to be a positive thing and something we should work towards. This is because when we benefit from SEO, the websites and pages we create can be ranked higher, helping us to be found by people that we want to connect with. In this light, SEO is a hugely positive thing and it is easy to see why so many businesses and individuals spend a lot of time and money on SEO.
However, negative SEO is also something to consider and it is something that many people have to deal with. The concept behind it is simple. We know that there are ways in which you can undertake SEO in a positive manner to impact on your site in a good way. However, this means that there are ways in which you can undertake SEO which will actually have a negative impact on your site rankings.
No one is going to undertake this sort of action on their own site but you can see that it doesn’t take too long for some people to think about the benefits (to them) of using negative SEO towards a rival site. When it comes to two rival firms, the most important factor is to be ranked higher. Ordinarily, you would focus on improving what you do to ensure you rank higher than your rival. However, if your rival is ranked lower due to negative elements in their site as opposed to positive elements in yours, it is the same outcome. This has led to an increasing number of people using negative SEO to boost their business and harm rivals and it may be that this is the reason you lag behind on search engines.
One way in which your website can be targeted is through the use of large volumes of fake links and spams. These are the sort of actions that will negatively impact on your ranking, so it is something that a rival firm may decide to undertake with respect to your site.
You have to bear in mind that for a number of years, a lot of people and small businesses offered services promising to provide your page with thousands of links via article or directory submissions. Now that this tactic doesn’t work anymore, these people may no longer be able to provide this service, but these people have realised that their services can now be used in an inverse manner. Previously these people were employed by individuals looking to boost their own website, now their skills and services are being deployed to negatively impact on rival sites.
Are any sites protected from these attacks?
When it comes to looking at protecting yourself from these attacks, it makes sense to look at the sites that already appear to be protected from this style of attack. On the whole, sites that have well established link profiles with reliable volume pointing towards them have been well protected. If you have enough authority in your industry, it looks as though these attacks are not going to have an impact because Google can see that there is enough information to suggest that this is a highly regarded site and that there isn’t a historical history of this form of linking.
However, if you don’t have a well-established site or a site that has a high volume of respected links pointing towards you, you may find yourself at risk from negative SEO. If you are penalised for these links, even if you are a victim of negative SEO, you will find that recover can be difficult, it can take time and even if you do everything that the search engines ask, you may never get back to the level you enjoyed before a penalty was imposed on you.
Therefore, how you protect your site from negative SEO?
You should look to keep a close on your link profile. There are a number of tools which will help you to keep track of your inbound links, including:
- Google Webmaster Tools
- Bing Webmaster Tools
One handy way to keep up to date with any changes is to compile all of your links from these tools into a list and then compare them to a previous list of links. Removing the duplicates will provide you with a list of the new links, which will help you to see who is now linking to you. If you know how the links developed or you are confident about the origin of the link, that is fine but if you receive a lot of new links from poor sources or unrelated sites, you may have an issue to deal with.
You want to review the quality of these links to ensure that they are healthy, and you should look to do this every two to four weeks. You should be looking to see if the sites are utilising keywords in the anchor text for the links. If you were not responsible for these links, there is a very good chance that you are being lined up for a negative SEO attack.
The Disavow Tool is of benefit
By monitoring these links on a regular basis, you will be in a position to act quickly if you spot anything suspicious. If you do, you should note the problematic sites in your Disavow file. If you are able to spot these early on and flag them up, you stand a strong chance of mitigating any impact that these links will have on your site. Be sure to add any suspicious site you come across because every anchor text keyword or poor quality website link can negatively impact on your ratio and cause you to suffer a penalty.
Do not let yourself become a victim
In an ideal world, everyone would have morals and everyone would just focus on being the best at what they do. We all know that this isn’t the case and it is the same for the online world as it is for the offline world. If you have a rival that is undertaking a negative SEO campaign, the consequences on your site and business can be catastrophic, so you need to be aware of these tactics. Hopefully, you will never come across any strategy but if you do, the only real way to prevent it from harming your business is to be proactive in monitoring and reporting. By focusing on positive SEO for yourself and being aware of the potential danger of negative SEO by your rivals, you will create a platform that provides you with a stronger chance of success.