The Beginner’s Guide to Monitoring, Fighting and Preventing Negative SEO
It’s no secret that Google and other prominent search engines are always looking to update their algorithms. They do this to ensure optimal parity within the search engine domain. However, this means companies and digital marketers must either adapt or perish; that is the golden rule in this era of business markets.
So, to adapt to the laws of this market, one must consider the term “negative SEO”. In April 2012, Google launched what later became known as the “Penguin” algorithm update, which led to the introduction of the notion of negative SEO for the first time ever. It was according to this update that new parameters came into play in the world of Google. So far, several factors have shown that there ’s a chance a website’s rankings will drop if negative SEO is employed against it.
Negative SEO comes as an antithesis to the idea of regular, positive SEO. It relates to certain actions that may damage the reputation and ranking of the business’ site. For example, banners and backlinks for casino sites, pornography and other illegal endeavours will cause damage to your business. And this can happen without you even noticing!
In order to defeat the menace that is negative SEO, we’ve assembled a quick and concise guide below. With these simple tips, you should be able to shield your business against wrongdoers and fortify your brand further.
A grim reality
It’s no secret that Google’s website grading criteria have only gotten increasingly strict over the years. This is when negative SEO comes in. After the 2012 Penguin update, negative SEO became another crucial parameter to be considered. Websites were now ranked not only by content, ratings, and hits but by what websites were linked to them as well.
To some, this update presented itself as a dangerous hazard, and to others, a shrewd business opportunity. Google has since cracked down on all sorts of promotions via shady links. Whenever a link appears, Google immediately investigates its origin. It also examines every click you receive. How can this become a weapon?
There are a few basic ways in which competitors may attempt to strike down your ratings:
- Competing businesses may use this against each other. This is done by paying porn sites and online casinos to post spam ads that include their competitor’s website URL on them. In doing so, they damage the other company’s hits, ratings, and conversions.
- They may also impersonate you and contact webmasters of sites to remove your best links. In turn, removing these backlinks will help them swindle you out of your money.
- Another way they could derail your business is by spamming various articles and sites with keywords. Not just any keywords, but those which directly relate to your website. And when Google notices that keywords related to you are on suspicious websites, they will quickly disregard you.
- Another strategy is to report your content or to copy it and furnish it with a different keyword distribution. Although this isn’t efficient in small doses, larger waves of such activity could potentially tank your traffic and search result appearance.
Ways to fix the damage that has already been done
The different methods that we’ve posted are just some of the ways that result in negative SEO. The scary thing is that there are in fact, numerous other ways to induce negative SEO apart from the tactics mentioned above. New ones arise every day and there is no longer room for unprepared digital marketers.
This is why you need to take precautionary measures. You can’t afford to relax and drop your guard – this could lead to customers being driven away from your website. Regardless of what has happened or what may happen, you still need to take the necessary steps to protect yourself against negative SEO. So, let’s cover them, shall we?
- First of all, you need to install a professional backlink checking tool. Ahrefs will do the job. They have a solid reputation for solving all possible business conundrums, and you can quickly collect information on all spam backlinks and catalogue them for further use.
- With the help of a law firm, you can send emails to the sites, politely asking them to remove the bad links to your site. Remember: somebody paid them to put the links, it’s not their fault. Be polite and don’t send a crazy number of emails. If they don’t respond, go to WhoIsHostingThis.com and find out who the host is. Then, you can contact them directly to solve your problem right away.
- Disavowing links is another great option to counter all possible spam backlinks. With a premium subscription, Ahrefs allows you to disavow quickly and in bulk.
Ways to prevent negative SEO from ever occurring
You haven’t suffered a negative SEO attack yet. That’s good. The next thing to do would be to make sure that such a thing never happens – something many digital marketers are too lazy to make the necessary adjustments for. As a result, their websites and brands take major hits. And more often than not, these hits cause substantial damage.
However, protecting your brand and yourself from negative SEO can be simple. You just need to follow a simple set of guidelines:
- Always enable email notifications from Google Webmaster Tools
Firstly, connect your website to the service. After enabling this, you will receive notifications about strange occurrences. Large plummets in rank will also be noticed by the Google Webmaster Tool service.
- Enable tracking of your backlink profiles
The most common negative SEO strategy involves building up the number of low-quality backlinks to your website. By installing the necessary tools, you can have all the safety features needed. A daily monitoring tool may help to dispel any possible problems and inform you of suspicious activity.
- Use Copyscape
This can’t be stressed enough. Your content may be in jeopardy with a simple copy-paste action. What Copyscape does is to quickly scan through the internet to locate any copies. From there, you can choose to report them.