Negative SEO: What Smart Site Owners Must Know!

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Sore losers pull out the steel chairs under the ring and smash everybody in sight. The steel chair that these losers use comes in the form of negative SEO campaigns. In the implementation of these practices, Google will pick up the activity going into the site and prevent it from appearing in SERPs for their keywords. As a result, the website will lose organic traffic and potentially see a decrease in sales. People in the industry frown upon this practice and with good reason. The sudden increase of backlinks as seen above is abnormal for all sites. It took nine months of diligent work to gain back some steam on his site.

Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (12222)

Even then, the site is no longer the same. Some of them have properties that can be used for good. Simply put, these tools have come to be associated with negative SEO campaigns, regardless of what else they can do.

COMING SOON

Factors such as sabotaged servers and low CTR click-through rate can negatively affect your organic search performance without your knowledge. However, below are preventive measures that will help you keep negative SEO as far away from your site as possible. Curious to see what your backlink profile looks like right now? You can immediately take action by disavowing those links to minimize the damage that these links will do to your site.

In the context of negative SEO, stealing content seconds after publication allows the scraper site to rank for your content. If you enabled the RSS feed of your site, people can steal your feed and auto-publish your content. Another possible effect of content scraping is plugging your feed on spammy sites. Also, you can take up the technical advice provided on this page to get rid of scrapers that are harming your site.

However, some gamify the system by unleashing bots that click the victim site after finding it in the search results and leave it immediately. The CTR of that page drops.

The Legal Options

Make sure that you check the CTR box to show you the percentage of clicks on the table below. If you spot a sudden decrease in the CTR of your pages, then you need to report this activity to Google.


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Site security has been an SEO factor since As a result, your visitors will bounce away from your site and look for more secure alternatives. While not a negative SEO attack in the strictest sense, hackers can mess up your files and destroy your content. It teaches you how to perform a backlink audit using Google Search Console and filter the backlinks in a spreadsheet.

As great as this guide is, the process is time-consuming. You may need to hire an assistant to help you identify the links that need to be disavowed. You do this for your own sake. Your main goal is just to get what you want and what you need fast. Some use a less aggressive form of black hat SEO wherein businesspeople still apply the same manipulation tactics to game Google but they stick to lower visibility niches or to Local SEO.

On the other hand, there are cases wherein black hat SEO techniques worked to the advantage of companies. Another main difference between black hat SEO and negative SEO is that in negative SEO, instead of using tactics to game Google and get a higher ranking, it focuses on deliberately lowering the ranking and credibility of another website, say, a competitor.

Thus, targeting a website that will take the fall is also a part of the tactics that revolve around negative SEO. They both might be very tempting to try, especially since you get the chance to be on top immediately, and you get to destroy your competition, but again, the price is too high for you to take on the gamble.

Not to mention that when Google catches on to new schemes, it changes its algorithm to accommodate these tactics, which means that you have to come up with new plans once again to game Google. In my opinion, the risk is not worth your time and effort. There has been some debate on whether negative SEO truly exists or not. On the one hand, there have been many websites that have experienced anonymous attacks that come in the form of stolen content and millions of links directed toward their site, among others. Some even receive extortion emails!

Google’s Ranking Factors: The Complete List ()

These tactics ultimately led to its destruction. You can read more about the case by going here. And Google promises to have even better algorithms to determine which sites are engaging in white hat SEO, and which ones are not following the correct guidelines. Whether negative SEO is real or not, easy to do or not, you are now aware that there are such things as attacks and threats that can be done to your enterprise.

And aside from preparing yourself to be able to handle these attacks once they happen, another effective way of protecting your company is to prevent these threats from happening. My personal take? Negative SEO is definitely real. Before you can fight off negative SEO tactics, you have to have an idea of what these tactics are.

Here are the top tactics that you need to be wary of:.

How to Disavow Links Using Ahrefs and Google Webmaster Tools

This is perhaps the most important tactic you need to be aware of. The process of linking quickly becomes a part of negative SEO when your site is linked to sites that have poor-quality content and spammy links. Link farms, content networks, mass profile spam, guestbooks, cloaking, link dropping to everywhere! If your website suddenly receives a high number of links in little time, this sudden surge in activity will catch the attention of Google.

How about if it were 2,, links? Social network spamming is also a practice to watch out for. Then spam people to turn them off. Another thing you need to watch out for is stolen content. There are sites that could easily copy your content, paste it on their own pages, and then accuse you of duplicating the content. This is very rare, but I have seen it happen a couple times in the past couple years.

I think Google already has a great algorithm in place for that but those copied content ranking higher than yours? As a result, your page will load so slowly that most of the time, people will just give up and leave your page. Sometimes, your server can even crash altogether. Google also records these downtimes and it can lower or remove you from the results if it happens often enough.

As a businessperson, you know how important it is for people to stay on your page to increase your traffic and conversion rates, so a slow loading speed is a big no-no. Something that you need to watch out for is bad reviews. However, in this case, bad reviews are those that are deliberately posted and completely made up to make you look bad and lose credibility. Also remember, Google is smart enough to know when a brand is mentioned. Sometimes, they even rank higher than your own website. Finally, you need to protect your website from hackers.


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Hackers might put a lot of heavy anchor texts and hidden links on your site, they could spam your meta tags with irrelevant keywords, and they could place inappropriate images and other content on your website. So how do you protect your website from negative SEO? The first thing you need to do is search your site for any threats. If you noticed a page was ranking previously and suddenly disappeared. Have regular backups of your website scheduled and stored in a remote place. They are hidden from people but Google can see them.

Thankfully there are plenty of tools that you can use to help you monitor your sites for any linking activity. There has been a rise in link auditing tools lately. Link Risk. Link Research Tools. They can all help you pinpoint the links that have the highest possibility of negatively affecting your page. For the sake of being professional, before you do this, you might want to notify the owner of the link, if applicable. You can ask them to remove their content or their link.


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