The SEO industry has undergone a major transformation in recent years, with marketers and enthusiasts developing new strategies to drive traffic to sites. As a result, ranking high in search engines in Google for competitive keywords has become difficult as compared to previous years.
And, as black hat SEO is harder to execute and even less likely to deliver the required results, another type of SEO that emerged in recent times called the “Negative SEO”.
Negative SEO refers to a malicious practice that aims at sabotaging search engine rankings to damage a competitor’s brand or business. There are various perpetrators who want to reduce traffic to their competitors’ websites and steal sales for their business.
Although Negative SEO does not happen to all businesses, it is something everyone in the marketing field should be aware of. The techniques of this practice are easy to spot; therefore, early detection will help mitigate the risks and the damages associated with the same.
In this blog, we will focus on Negative SEO tactics and how businesses can protect their websites from possible negative SEO attacks. So, if you wish to know more about it, read along!
Common Negative SEO Tactics
As Negative SEO involves using black hat and unethical techniques to sabotage your rankings in SERPs, it can attack you in numerous forms:
- Hacking your site
- Building spammy, fake links to your website
- Duplication of content
- Negative reviews
- Frequent crawls
- Fake requests for removing your best backlinks
An attacker can use the ways listed above and combine them to make your website fall off the rankings page. To reduce the consequences of such attacks, below we have listed some pre-emptive actions you may consider-
Preventing your Website from Hacking
To make Negative SEO work in such a case, an attacker will not hijack your website entirely. You will still have access to your website, but the attacker will do their work by installing various spammy signals which might be undetectable.
To detect such security breaches on your website, set up notifications in Google Search Console. You can regularly run site audits in order to fix any technical issues on your website. Apart from this, you can also use the FTC complaint Assistant to report incidents of hacking.
Disavow Fake Backlinks
You are most likely to be hit by a Negative SEO attack if you think someone is generating numerous toxic backlinks pointing to your website. In these cases, you can use the disavow tool to tackle the attack. When thousands of such toxic backlinks are generated pointing to your site, you will be required to disavow them just as you fix a manual action from Google. All you have to do is go manually link by link, collect them as per criteria, and then disavow.
Spot Scraped Content and Website Clones
Identical content on different websites can lead to cannibalisation issues. In addition to this, it can also result in specific pages or complete websites getting filtered out in the search results. At times, attackers duplicate a whole website or some pages to sabotage to disrupt your search performance. However, with tools like Copyscape or Siteliner, you can audit your web regularly and detect the malicious behaviour of attackers related to duplicating your content or the entire website. Therefore, if you sport a fraudulent doppelganger website, consider doing the following-
- Connect with the provider where the clone website is hosted. Explain to them why the content should be taken down.
- Use a google form to report the fake website and demand to take it down
- Report the imposter using the FTC Complaint Assistant
Locate and Report Fake Negative Reviews About Your Website
Fake reviews do not impact the reputation of a large organisation; however, they can have repercussions on a small business company. As per Google, reviews do have an impact on your SERP performance, but fake reviews can do a lot of harm.
Attackers put in a lot of effort to make people fall for such feedback through well-crafted reviews. They spread negativity which can decline your business’s reputation and reduce the traffic. Although there’s no assurance that these efforts work. Still, you need to look for such activities by monitoring online reviews.
If you find a review is definitely fake, report it to the site’s administration where it has been published.
Crawling your Website to Slow it Down
While frequent crawls are an integral part of a website’s peak performance, they can also be a huge resource drain. Hackers have a lot of ways to continuously crawl your website and burden the server to a point where it either slows down or crashes.
To prevent this Negative SEO attack, you need to regularly monitor your website’s performance. If you see it dropping, connect with your hosting company to look into the matter. Thereby, you can know where the load is coming from and work on it.
Report Fake Backlink Removal Requests
You should always watch out for your most valued backlinks. An attacker can start sending out fake removal requests to your referring domain for the removal of backlinks at any time. And, there is no guarantee whether the webmaster where your backlinks are posted will follow such fraudulent requests or not. Therefore, you need to keep an eye on your backlinks.
To protect your backlinks from this Negative SEO attack and detect their disappearance, you can use the SEMrush Backlink Audit tool to track any lost and found backlinks.
All the practices associated with Negative SEO are more about plain hacking and scam which can reduce your traffic and filter your site from the SERPs. The only way to protect your website is to take the necessary precautions and adopt marketing strategies that help you grow. And as rankings are more than just protection and marketing strategies, New Vision Digital is here to help you with the best. Connect with us to develop a marketing campaign for your project which guarantees results and success.
We hope you enjoyed the read! Tell us in the comments if you have experienced any Negative SEO attacks and how you tackled them.
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