The dangers of negative SEO are real and can lead to loss of revenues as well as search visibility. It is possible to destroy a site by aggressively spamming backlinks and also the use of malicious links.
Let us first understand what the term “Negative SEO” means:
Negative SEO is the practice of implementing black hat SEO on competitors’ websites. It is an unethical effort by your competitor to reduce the reach for your website and to lower its ranking. Generally, this done by using spam links, tons of fake reviews, and even hacking the website directly. But there are ways to stay sharp and prevent such malicious attacks and save your website from damage.
Auditing the Links Regularly
Monitoring the growth of backlinks is a simple yet effective way to check for suspicious activity. Generally, backlinks increase steadily, but you can notice the red flags in the form of spikes and sudden drops. Attackers can do this via backlinks containing objectionable anchor text or even by hacking your websites and modifying the content and by including malicious links.Hence, proper audit of backlinks is essential and this can be done through link auditing software created by third parties or manually.
Scraping is nothing but copying someone else’s content and directly using it on your websites. People generally do this when they lack creativity and content creation skills. If the copied content is indexed first, then the original site will lose its value and might suffer a fall in its ranking.
To prevent such instances, regularly check on Copyscape whether your content is being used on other websites and ask the owner of the website to remove the plagiarized content. If the person refuses, you can report them via Google’s Copyright Removal Forum.
Monitor Google Reviews:
Reviews are always helpful in making us build a better brand and improve our services better. Negative reviews often show us where we lack and open the door for opportunities, but if there is a sudden increase in the negative reviews of your company and there is no botch up from your side, then it is nothing but an attack on your firm. In such cases, you need to act very fast. Otherwise, you are in for some severe damage to your brand’s reputation in the market. Flag the fake reviews and report them.
Beware of False Bounce Rate:
One needs to monitor CTR of keywords and look out for sudden spikes,which are not justified. These can be signs of a programmed botsthat often target specific keywords on the competitor’s website and then bounce. This would affect the ranking of your page. It is challenging to spot such efforts, but if you go through “Search Analytic” diligently, then you can notice this pattern and report such links to google.
Instances of Negative SEO are rare, but precautions are better than cure any day; hence you need to make sure your security is up to date, and CMS has encryption,which is competent enough to defend the users. If you store sensitive consumer data, then you should bring your site to HTTPS. This not only improves security but also improves the ranking, SEO, and, most importantly, makes the website more trustworthy for the users.
Generally, with Google continuously bringing changes to ensure that the playing field is level, you need not worry. But monitoring the factors mentioned above will help you protect your website from adverse actions by competitors.