Negative search engine optimization (SEO) is generally referred to as: ‘when a website purchases links and forwards them towards a competitor’s website in order to destroy their rankings’. A few other examples of negative SEO include tactics such as review bombing (paid perfect reviews), hacking a website to execute damage, or by simply reporting other websites’ “black hat” tactics to search engines.
There are many reasons why negative SEO works. One of the main reasons is the fact that the site owner cannot control external links. This gives competitors the power to improve their own ranking by destroying their competitor’s standing. It is basically the Internet world’s version of attack ads.
This would make many people believe that competitors can very easily improve their website’s search rankings by using negative SEO tactics to outsmart their competitors. However, the reality is that it is a partial truth. There are ways through which you can safeguard your website. So, before you begin to worry about a competitor that is targeting your website to gain his own ranking through negative SEO, you need to know that:
● A website with a solid domain authority is considered safe and is less likely to become a target of negative SEO.
● Negative SEO is a huge liability risk, so, engaging in such a risky campaign might not be a practice of legitimate businesses and should refrain from the gamble.
● It is very important to keep an eye on SEO factors that can easily be manipulated. These include reviews and backlinks, etc.
● Google is well aware of this conduct. So they have systems that review sites to trace any affected ones. If they gather adequate evidence, Google will intercept the misconduct and provide an opportunity to recover from the damage.
Negative SEO Tactics
There are several tactics used in negative SEO. Let’s have a look at some of these:
This is a very powerful tool that can impact your site in a negative manner. If out of the blue, hundreds of links begin to point to your website then there is a considerable chance that Google would get track of it; in this case, get in touch with Google and change your website keeping their guidelines in mind. Afterwards, submit a request for reconsideration elaborating the situation and emphasizing the fact that the situation was not in your hands.
Everyone knows Google hates plagiarized or duplicated content. Stealing content simply means getting access to a site’s content before it is published, and putting it out so that it looks like that the original site is actually stealing the content. To prevent such conduct you need to maintain an updated site map and consistent publication of new content. This will depict the authenticity of your website and its content.
Competitors can very easily add reviews to business forums which can be problematic. If the reviews are very positive they’ll look fake causing problems for your business. Not only will your business lose prestige, Google also looks at this as a blackhat. To prevent this, you need to extensively monitor reviews and if you find any that seem fake, make sure to report it to Google.
Crawlers can cause a site to get slow and cause problems for the user. Excessive crawling can be blocked by preventing access to your website, but it must be done in a careful fashion as Bing, Google, or any other search engines should not be blocked.
DMCA Removal Requests
This is a highly effective tactic. In this target, one looks for high quality backlinks and emails and removes the links as the page contains material that does not belong to the original website. To prevent this you need to keep an eye on the new referral traffic. Establishing a relationship with the site before it can happen can be another defense.
To sum it up, negative SEO is bad for your website and you must take actions to safeguard your business. Don’t know how to do it? Not to worry – get in touch with PurpleCowAgency today and let us handle it for you.
This post was originally published in http://www.purplecowagency.com/what-is-negative-seo-and-how-can-you-safeguard-your-business-from-it/ by Michael Wight