In the realm of online marketing, you understand how important it is to not only optimize your pages for the search engines, but also remain on top of all the latest SEO tactics and algorithms. After all, it’s impossible to increase your brand awareness and traffic if you don’t fully understand the in’s and outs of SEO.
Keep in mind, statistics have shown that the top three search results receive more than 50 percent of the total traffic, and Google receives more than 63,000 search queries each second. This means you want every advantage available to help your pages get a piece of that search pie.
While knowing and understanding SEO best practices is important, there are also smaller, technical factors that can play a huge role in your page rank. There are some that may even surprise you. One of these factors is negative SEO.
Here you can learn more about what this is, how it works and signs that you may need to take action.
Negative SEO Defined
Negative SEO is something that occurs when someone tries to reduce a site’s ranking in search engines. There are several ways this can be done. The most common instance of negative SEO discussed in various forums is referred to as link-based negative SEO.
While this is the most common, there are other techniques unscrupulous people use to try and reduce your site’s ranking, too.
The good news is, you can do some things to help and protect your website. Before you become overly concerned that a competitor is going to try and target your site and harm your rankings by using negative SEO, you need to understand the following:
- It’s agreed that sites with stronger domain authority are less susceptible to any type of negative SEO efforts.
- It’s extremely risky for businesses to engage in these negative SEO campaigns and the majority of legitimate businesses won’t take the chance.
- Google has put systems in place to review any site that may be affected.
- You must monitor all SEO factors that may be manipulated by your competition, such as reviews and backlinks.
As you can see, negative SEO isn’t something that is extremely common; however, being aware of what it is and how it may pop up is essential to protecting your website.
Common Negative SEO Tactics to be Aware Of
Some of the negative SEO tactics you should be aware of are found here.
If there are thousands of different links pointing to your website, then there is a pretty good chance that it’s going to be on Google’s radar. At this point, you need to make an effort to work with Google. Alter your site so it complies with their guidelines the best that you can and then submit the “reconsideration request” that includes details on all the links you don’t have any control over.
Stealing Content Before It’s Indexed
This is an effort done by a company that copies a site’s content in an effort to make it look as though the original site is the one duplicating it. The best way to prevent this is by keeping your sitemap updated and always re-submitting it when you have new content published.
Additionally, you can use the absolute rel=canonical tag for your pages, which will help establish that your site is the actual authority when any content is scrapped by another party. One way for you to figure out if your site is being scraped and duplicated is to do a Google search that contains a sentence from your pages inside quotation marks.
Competitors can easily add fake reviews to your business listing. They can also do this in a way that makes it seem as though your business has created them.
To help ensure this does not occur, you need to monitor everything on your website. Follow your reviews and use the “report a problem” link at the bottom of any listing so you can notify Google of the problem.
If your site is crawled excessively, it can result in latency issues for the average user who is browsing on the site. You can prevent these malicious crawlers from having access to your website, but this must be done carefully so you don’t block Google, Bing, or any other search engine.
Knowing the IP addresses of these search engines can be beneficial if you are using IP detection as a way to identify and stop any bad crawlers.
DMCA Removal Requests
According to experts, this is one of the most effective and scariest negative SEO tactics used today. It works by targeting your site’s most valuable backlinks.
A competitor will send an email that notifies the webmaster that the page containing a link to your website is actually a copyright infringement and that it needs to be removed right away.
To defend against this, you should establish a solid relationship with a website before posting anything on it. Even just an email that states, “thank you for posting the link,” may be enough to keep the link in place permanently.
The Best Defense Against Negative SEO Efforts
You should understand, there is no set, concrete list of negative SEO tactics that can be used. In fact, these campaigns are going to find and take advantage of any weaknesses on your site and then exploit them as much as possible.
The very best defense against this is to have a solid foundation focused on white hat SEO efforts, and to always monitor ranking metrics to catch any signs of foul play.
Google’s algorithms are becoming smarter and smarter. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of one of the penalties it enforces against sites that don’t meet set guidelines.
The Long-Term Effect of Negative SEO
If you don’t stay on top of what’s going on with your site, you may soon realize that negative SEO efforts by a third-party have resulted in a significant drop in your search engine rank. In some cases, the consequences can even be more severe. This is why it is so important to take action and ensure your site does not fall victim to these nefarious efforts.