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Protect Your Site From Negative SEO

Posted by peterzmijewski | Filed under Seo Techniques

Negative SEO is real.It is possible to damage, if not destroy, a site through the use of malicious backlinks and aggressive backlink spamming.Negative SEO is a legitimate danger that can result in lost organic search visibility and revenue.But it is possible to defend against negative SEO.

What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO is the practice of implementing black hat SEO techniques on another site.Usually,an SEO attack is unleashed by a disgruntled competitor and his or her minions with the goal of reducing that site’s rankings.Most SEOs are happy to play by the rules.We publish our content, we promote ourselves on social media, and we roll with the punches every time Google updates their algorithm.But sometimes — not often, mind you — you get on the wrong side of someone who doesn’t share your scruples.They play dirty. They might try to bog down your website with hundreds of spammy links, flood Yelp with fake reviews, or just hack your website outright.

1.Perform Regular Link Audits
Regular link audits are good practice for any business, but they can save your bacon if you’re ever the victim of a negative SEO attack.Monitoring your link profile growth is hands down the best way to spot suspicious activity before it spirals out of control.Your links might also suffer if you’ve been hacked. Perhaps the attacker has altered your content to include spammy links or modified your links to redirect to theirs.These attacks are insidious and can be difficult to spot,and the only way to safeguard your website is to perform regular website audits.It’s crucial that you monitor your link profile growth carefully so you can catch an attack before it costs you too much.Use link auditing software or perform a manual audit to check on your backlink health.If you are a victim of link farm spamming, let Google know and disavow the links ASAP.

2.Keep an Eye on Your Site Speed
Site speed is a key ranking factor.If your website is becoming sluggish and you have no idea why you should use crawling software to look for anything suspicious.If you can’t find anything and there’s still a problem, you might be the victim of forceful crawling.Forceful crawling causes a heavy server load, which means your site will slow down and might even crash.

3.Search for Scraped Content
Content marketing has been the name of the game these last few years, but not everyone is equally creative when it comes to content creation.Consequently, scraping has become all too frequent.Scraping is the process of lifting content from your website and copying it verbatim to other websites.Usually, the attacker will claim it as their own in an attempt to beef up their thin content, but sometimes they’ll combine it with a link farm attack to spam your site.Scraping has serious consequences.If the copied content gets indexed before your content then your page might be devalued, and your site might fall in rank as a result.

4.Monitor Google My Business
You work hard to build up your brand reputation and win customers.Negative reviews hurt, but you usually often use them as learning experiences on how to improve.Unless you’ve made a big public PR plunder recently, a whole slew of negative reviews might be a sign that someone is trying to flood your site with fake reviews.If you don’t act fast, these can seriously damage your reputation.

5.Watch Your Keywords’ CTR
This began to have an effect on their rankings — user experience is an important signal, and this looked like bad UX.What was actually happening was that someone had programmed a bot to target certainkeywords, land on competitor sites, and then bounce, which created a false SERP bounce rate.

6.Check Your SERP Ranking
You probably don’t need to be told to check your SERP ranking from time to time, but just in case,here’s a compelling reason why you should:A drop in rank might be the result of malicious intent.They used Google’s URL removal tool to remove Followerwonk from the web, and within 2-3 hours all Followerwonk URLs had practically disappeared from Google SERPs.For a full overview of your site’s performance, use rank tracking software to monitor your visibility.If you notice sudden drops, check your website’s crawl stats in Google Search Console and make sure your robots.txt is still set up properly.

7.Upgrade Your Security
Negative SEO might not be all that common, but cyber attacks are on the rise year after year.Make sure your software is up to date, you apply all security patches to your software, and your CMS software is equipped with powerful encryption to protect your users.Cyber attacks aren’t technically negative SEO, but they will have an impact on your SEO.Google flags compromised sites with a “this site may be hacked” line into your search listing,which will definitely warn traffic away.

Negative SEO is rare.Most of the time, Google is good at catching problematic linking behavior and curtailing it before it has an impact on your SERPs.That said, clever people are continuously trying to find ways to game the system.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy.His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

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