You might already know what SEO is. But have you ever heard of negative SEO? Let’s delve into everything you need to know about negative SEO attacks and how to protect your business from them.
What Is Negative SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, involves the use of various techniques that are meant to increase brand visibility and website traffic. The goal of SEO services is to improve search engine rankings and ultimately help a business become more successful as a result. But while professional SEO firms will use what’s known as white hat SEO to ensure they optimize a website according to Googe’s best practices, negative SEO typically involves the use of black-hat techniques — which are deemed as unethical or manipulative.
The reason for initiating a negative SEO attack is to harm a given brand through lowered website rankings or reputational damage. In some cases, negative SEO tactics might be used to beat out a competitor or to seek revenge in some way. Negative SEO techniques may include website hacking, content scraping, spammy link-building, backlink removal, or even fake social media profile creation.
Why Does Negative SEO Matter?
Negative SEO isn’t something that every business has to deal with, but it is something you should take seriously. After putting in so much hard work to build a great website and optimize it with professional SEO assistance, the last thing you’d want is for someone else to come along and ruin it all. And since 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engine results, the threat of having your rankings take a hit (or having your site de-indexed entirely from SERPs) is enough to scare anyone. No matter how remote the possibility might be, it’s important to be proactive and to recognize when a negative SEO attack might have occurred.
How Do I Know When a Negative SEO Attack Has Taken Place?
As any professional SEO company will tell you, a loss of rankings doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’ve become the victim of an SEO attack. In fact, it could be the least likely possibility. However, it’s one that’s worth exploring — particularly if your drop in rankings is sudden and can’t be explained by a recent algorithmic update from Google. In that case, you should have your professional SEO team check your individual keyword rankings and look for a manual penalty notification in the Google Search Console. If you know that you and your professional SEO company have kept all of your optimization efforts on the up-and-up, it’s possible that you might be seeing the effects of a negative SEO attack.
What Can I Do to Prevent or Fix a Negative SEO Attack?
Preventing a negative SEO attack is typically easier than fixing an attack that’s already taken place. Be sure to sign up for alerts in the Google Search Console to keep you updated on everything that’s going on with your site. You should also make it a point to monitor your existing backlinks and your backlink profile, check for duplicate website content, and protect your site with the best security tools available. In addition, remember to keep an eye on your social media accounts, mentions, and relevant hashtags.
If you have confirmation that your site has been attacked by negative SEO, you should conduct a backlink audit to determine which spammy backlinks you want to have removed. You can then contact the webmasters or use Google’s disavow tool. If someone has removed some of your best backlinks without your permission, you can also contact those websites and ask to have your links put back up. You can also file DMCA complaints to Google if you’ve found your website content has been scraped. And, of course, if your site has been hacked, you’ll want to contact a reputable web developer for further assistance.
Negative SEO is a big topic to cover, but we hope you now understand the basics of what to look for and how to protect yourself. By taking precautions and by working with a reputable SEO firm, you can expect to see positive movement in your rankings, website traffic, and overall online visibility.