So we’ve all heard about SEO and how a well run SEO campaign can have a positive impact on your search results and your website traffic. Of course this can be fantastic for your website, but with good can come bad. There can be a dark side to SEO manipulation.
This is commonly known as Negative SEO. It is essentially when other people, often competitors, use all the bad elements of SEO that go against the Google guidelines, to bring about a negative impact on your site.
Negative SEO is a very real problem for anyone who has been victimized by it. Experiencing your website rankings that you’ve fought so hard for tank nearly overnight is not just heartbreaking, but a real financial pain the wallet.
So, you might ask, what does a negative SEO attack look like? Some common ways an evil webmaster may try and take you down includes tactics like creating tons of links to your pages, using spam keywords or even all of your page’s primary keywords. (Google sees this as link manipulation) The will also directly hack into your server, and even impersonate you online in social media. In order to help you be armed for the fight against negative SEO, we’ve provided 5 ways you can be aware of what’s going on with your site.
5 Tips for handling Negative SEO
Use alerts – One of the best features of Google Webmaster tools is it can send you email alerts whenever your site is under various types of attacks, such as if you have a malware problem, pages are not indexed and more.
Look at your backlink profile – One way negative SEO may harm you is if you get a sudden spike in backlinks that are of the spammy variety. You’ll need to especially be watchful for any spam keywords. A site like monitorBacklinks.com is useful.
Keep an ear open for social media mentions – Track any mentions of you or your brand in social media, as you could be getting trashed and before you know it, are in full reputation management mode. Sites like Mention.net can send alerts for these.
Kill any duplicate content – One of the ways you can be a victim of negative SEO is by having people simply copy your pages and paste duplicates of them all over the Web. Google will not be pleased, and you’ll end up with a penalty.
Secure your site – Make sure you have a secure installation. This is partly your host’s and partly your job, but you really don’t want someone gaining access. If you are running WordPress, this is doubly true, as it is a hacker’s playground.
Google recognises bad SEO practices and will penalize those websites that are engaging in it. The problem is that it is often difficult for Google to understand if the bad SEO is originating from you or from a competitor who is targeting you. Knowing if and when you are being targeted with Negative SEO is imperative to start fixing or to reverse any damage that has been done.