Negative SEO: The Dark Side of Search Engine Optimisation
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Google’s algorithms were created to prevent black hat SEO tactics but unfortunately, the loopholes left in Google’s algorithms have enabled the rise of an even darker form of this practice – negative SEO.
Negative SEO is the act of performing some type of action that damages competitors” organic search rankings. This method is used to convince search engines that they should punish a site for using Black Hat SEO techniques when they have not.
There are many ways negative SEO can be done and here are some tips on what you can do to fight them.
1. Malicious attacks on your site. This mostly involves malware, hacks and injections. Hackers will try to find out any security vulnerabilities from your site and when they do, they will modify your robots.txt file to block Google, or inject spam or malware into your web pages.
What to do:
Make sure you secure your server. Fix your security holes so that hackers could not go back in and make malicious changes on your site again. It’s also good to hire a company who can detect vulnerabilities and remove any malware from your server and block malicious traffic to prevent attacks.
2. Spam reporting. A lot of people report spam to Google and some of them could be your competitors or just random people on the internet who feel your site is irrelevant or abusive of Google’s guidelines. If Google receives a lot of report on your site, Google will take a closer look at your backlinks to see if you are manipulating your rankings.
What to do:
Spam reports are not really a thing to worry about if you’re dong white hat SEO as it will rarely affect your rankings. If you optimize your site without breaking the rules, there is a good chance you’ll keep your position and won’t be penalized.
3. Building bad links. Toxic links are the worst of the negative SEO. The pointing of manipulative toxic links to your website will cause your rankings to nosedive and you may even get penalized by Google.
What to do:
(a) Monitor your backlink profiles. Make sure that you”re registered with Google Webmaster Tools to get warnings ahead of time. If you suspect a high volume influx of unnatural links, you should let Google know that you have nothing to do with that activity.
(b) Get rid of these toxic links by emailing the webmaster requesting to remove the links. You can even ask your law firm for permission to use their letterhead when emailing link removal requests as this will more likely increase your chances of getting the links removed.
(c) As for the links you can’t get removed, use Google’s Disavow Tool in Webmaster Tools. With this tool, you can manually tell Google not to count specific links when evaluating your site.
The best thing you can do to combat negative SEO is to follow the rules and produce informative and unique content. Remember that a solid SEO campaign comprises of quality links, regular monitoring and excellent content. Focus on building high-quality links as this will maintain your position and safeguard your site from the evils of negative SEO.
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