Most modern business owners now understand the importance of a good website. Do it right and it can do wonders for your bottomline. You need that traffic to convert to sales. That’s why SEO is a big investment; you just got to have that coveted #1 ranking.
There are several techniques to improve ranking, some of them untrustworthy. Because of this, SEO has taken on a new face these past few years. Search engines, specifically Google, has evolved and have taken significant updates to reduce unethical practices to a controllable extent by imposing penalties and even blacklisting sites.
The Rise of Negative SEO
This proved quite successful and made it more difficult to employ such questionable tactics. However, it gave rise to another problem: negative SEO.
Negative SEO uses the same schemes in Black Hat SEO, except that it is directed towards an innocent and high-ranking website to make them look like the culprit. You may not be employing dubious marketing strategies, but what about unscrupulous individuals, groups and competitors doing their dirty tricks on you? Sounds serious? Indeed it is. That online reputation you’ve built through precious time, effort and money can be wiped out entirely in a snap.
How Do They Do It? What Can You Do?
Here are some negative SEO red flags to watch out for and how to counter it, or else your business is bound to lose that good SEO ranking, and consequently, a huge amount of profit.
Spammy Links through Link Farms: Low-quality backlinks from suspicious sites leads back to your website or content, thus you get tagged with penalties. Regular monitoring of your links and performance rankings can alert you of such attacks. Any significant spikes on backlinks, especially if you’re not building one or they point to old or previously non-performing content, coupled with a sudden drop in views or ranking, are tell-tale signs of such negative SEO. Report or disavow those links so that Google will ignore them.
Content Scraping: This negative SEO is when your content is copied and reposted across the web. While Google can usually differentiate which is the original, if scraping is done before Google crawls or checks yours, it is possible your website will be penalized instead. Regular checks for duplications are now part of some SEO tools which makes it easier to monitor. You should also report such piracy to the webmaster, as there are times when they are also not aware and they normally would do something about it, lest they get punished as well.
Fake Negative Reviews: Sure, businesses should address bad reviews, but you need to immediately flag malicious ones. One word, one star bad reviews are clear signs of negative SEO using fake reviews. Regularly check your reviews and act accordingly.
As they say, prevention is the best cure. At the very least, early detection is crucial in order to take the necessary steps to counter the adverse effects of an SEO attack. Monitoring and auditing using the right SEO tools or hiring a SEO expert can help in a great way in your fight against negative SEO.