What is Negative SEO? How to Detect & Prevent it?

December 17, 2019

What is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO stands for the illegitimate tactics used to diminish the competitor’s rank and authority. It is better known as “Black Hat SEO” that is the practice against search engine guidelines, used to get a site ranking higher in search results. These tactics can de-index or penalize your website permanently. If you are running an online business, then you must be aware of these techniques to avoid being suffered from the negative consequences of Negative SEO.

Let’s discuss these unethical activities and remedies to stay safe.

Link Schemes: Usually, spammers create a link farm pointing towards your site. Link farms are an interconnected network of links passing link equity to a target website. It’s a black hat technique, webmasters use to improve their link profile, but in the case of negative SEO, links are from low authority or irrelevant websites. This kind of link farms degrades your authority and gets you penalized due to the offense of webmaster guidelines. Apart from link farms, spammers post bad links in the comments, link your website with irrelevant keywords, etc. Google doesn’t tolerate link schemes and dilutes your ranking.

To avoid these unwelcomed consequences, you should use online tools to track your backlinks and spam links from unnatural sources. There are many online tools like AhrefsOpen Site ExplorerMonitorBacklinks, etc. You can use these tools to monitor backlinks you gain and lose. Some tools send the notification whenever you get/lose a backlink.

You should check your link profile regularly to protect yourself from link schemes. If you find any unnatural link, disavow them. Disavow tells Google that you don’t want that backlink and saves your authority from degrading by link spams. The disavow option also comes with backlink tracking tools.

Fake Link Removal Request: Credible backlinks are the primary factor behind a website’s authority and ranking. Spammers target these credible links and send them to request to remove the link with your name. Losing a quality link spoils your visibility and brand reputation.

To save your valuable links, filter them, and keep tracking them regularly. If you lose any, then contact the webmaster and ask the reason. Always contact the webmaster with your business email accounts, never use personal ids.

Data Duplication: Bad peoples copy your content and share it at every possible platform. As the search engine finds duplicate content, it reduces your credibility. Duplicate content violates Google Webmaster Guidelines and opens up you to penalty. Use online tools like Copyscape to check for duplicate content, if you find any then report that content as spam.

Hacking and Malware Attacks: Hacking and malware can spoil your image to users and search engines as well. Hackers target your vulnerabilities and breach your security to get the controls. They can post inappropriate content, which can deter your audience. Hackers send malware like Trojans, scripts, etc. to infect your system and degrade your services.

ALSO READ: 11 Reasons Why SEO is Essential for Startups

Sometimes your server gets down because of DDoS attack, comprising tons of requests to your server. You can identify it by the slow speed when multiple requests encounter on the server websites get slow to load. There are many other reasons for slow speed, but if you optimized them, you could overcome your server and website speed subsequently.

To protect yourself from getting hacked, use advance security technology like SSL certificate, firewall, etc. If you are using WordPress, then use Google Authenticator Plugin to surefire security. You should use strong passwords, including special characters, different character cases, and numbers. Install antivirus to manage malware and junk files. Monitor server downtime and pick the hosting plan with advanced security against DDoS or other harmful cyber-attacks.

Own Black Hat Techniques: What goes around comes around. It’s not necessary that your competitor trick you always, it can be you also. When you use black hat techniques to manipulate search engine rankings, you end up losing the existing rank. So, if you choose unauthentic strategies then you are going to face counterproductive results. You should never use black hat techniques because it is just an illusion of early success. Legit SEO practices take time but provide long-lasting stable results. Have patience; you can’t get success overnight. Go through webmaster guidelines to avoid an unintentional breach of laws.

Crawler Directives: It can be done unknowingly or deliberately. If you added the no-index tag or robot.txt in the directives, then crawlers skip crawling & indexing of your page or website. Always take precision while adding crawlers’ directives. Sometimes your SEO person adds these directives intentionally because of some personal grudges. You should use Google Search Console Tool for checking error reports or problems in crawling and indexing. You can also check your indexed page by “site: yourdoamainname.com.” If there is any page missing, then you should look for the robot file and update it accordingly.

These are the Negative SEO techniques that can affect your online business. Precaution is better than cure; you can’t control someone to use these techniques but protect yourself from being a victim. You should use Google Webmaster Tools to get alerts of malware attacks, server errors, a manual penalty from Google, etc. One more thing you must consider is never to use these techniques for others, always play a fair game. If you are deserving, then Google automatically gives what you are eligible for. Improve yourself instead of degrading others.

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