Aside from learning about how you can improve your traffic with SEO, you should also take the time to study about negative SEO.
Negative SEO refers to a set of practices and activities that are aimed towards lowering a competitor’s rankings. To put it simply, these are SEO practices that your competitors might do that will affect your ranking negatively. In many cases, negative SEO targets off-page SEO.
It’s a very frustrating practice that even the most experienced SEO experts hate.
Keeping up with the ever-changing trends in SEO is tough already. Now, you also have to worry about negative SEO and its impact on your website. If you want to make sure that you stay free from the consequences of SEO, here’s how you can do it.
1. Watch Out For Link Farms
Link farms are a group of websites that link to each other to boost their popularity. If you didn’t know by now, Google doesn’t take too kindly to getting links and even linking to such websites. They prefer authoritative links that offer a lot of value.
Being linked to by a link farm is one of the most common forms of negative SEO.
The good news is that it’s very easy to spot if your website is getting links from link farms. One way of doing so is by checking for unusual spikes in traffic of certain content. There are also platforms that let you monitor all the links you receive.
Using these tools will allow you to disavow any link farm referrals on your website. Make sure to act fast as these spammy links can greatly lower your traffic and SEO.
2. Report Content Scrappers
The internet is ripe with knowledge. Everything you need, you will most definitely find on Google.
As you may have guessed, however, a lot of the contents are duplicates which is why we highly suggest always finding good and unique angles to your content. Using tools like Copyscape will ensure that your content is unique.
Google is capable of locating contents that are close to one another. If the contents are very similar, it will only choose to rank one of the web pages. Sadly, Google doesn’t have the capacity to determine which of the content is scrapped and which is the original.
If you think your content is being copied without your consent, you can report them to Google’s copyright infringement report.
3. Flag Fake Reviews
One of the ways your competitors can directly mess with your SEO is by using anonymous accounts to post negative and fake reviews on your business or website. It bears no consequences to them as long as they use a different email.
It’s very easy to spot these fake reviews. Google’s guidelines say that posting reviews on behalf of other individuals is not permitted. As such, you can report these fake reviews and hopefully, Google will act fast and take it down for you.
4. Security Breaches
Website security and performance is one of the ranking factors for SEO. As you may have guessed, hacks and malware on your website will result in negative SEO as well. Google doesn’t take too kindly to websites that pose a significant threat to users online.
The clear solution here is to improve your website’s security, of course. Some of the easiest ways to do it is by…
- Enabling SSL
- Changing your passwords at least once every 3 months
- Investing in a better web hosting service
- Keeping all of your software up-to-date
You can lose a lot to a data breach. It’s important that you safeguard your data and your customer’s data as well. Recovering from the negative SEO caused by this is tough but what’s even tougher is recovering the trust of your customers if they become a victim of a data breach because of your website.
5. Heavy Crawling
If a competitor is very desperate, they might result to heavy crawling. This means they are trying to overload your website so that it performs poorly and begins to load much slower as well.
If you feel like your website is getting some unnecessary traffic and is beginning to slow down, contact your web host ASAP. Have them pinpoint the location of the traffic. If it’s all coming from one location, that’s a clear sign of intentional crawling.
From there, your web host can easily block the spam. Another good way to avoid this is by getting a dedicated web hosting service which is more expensive but it helps your website perform better too.
Negative SEO is unavoidable as it’s mostly caused by others around you. What you can do to avoid the repercussions of negative SEO is to act fast and to ensure that all problems are dealt with before they make an impact.