Negative SEO can quickly unravel all the hard work you've put into building your company website and your online reputation.
If your competitors want to, they can use a number of unethical means to sabotage your site and wreak havoc on your SEO rankings.
Even if you aren’t a victim of negative SEO attacks, it’s best to understand what they are and what you can do to protect your website.
Breaking It Down
What is negative SEO, anyway? Negative SEO refers to deliberate attacks on your website by your competitors or hired saboteurs.
They can accomplish this by:
- Removing backlinks
- Injecting spam and unnatural links directly into your site
- Copying content from your site and distributing it across the internet
- Creating fake social media profiles for your business with the intention of tarnishing your reputation
A few negative SEO practices can seem pesky, but know this: These attacks can cripple your current and future business reputation.
As with most issues of this magnitude, it’s best to get well ahead of the problem and prevent it rather than wait until you become a victim and must develop a cure. So, how can you guard your site against black hat SEO tactics?
Regular Link Audits
With link audits, you gain valuable insight into how well your site is growing. If you suddenly notice a sudden and drastic increase in growth, but you haven’t done anything cause it, there’s a chance you’ve become the victim of a negative SEO campaign.
What’s likely happening is your site has been inundated with link farms spam, which could give your site hundreds or thousands of links with...unsavory anchor texts. Such texts could cost you thousands of visits and cause your SEO ranking to plummet.
Not the most tech-savvy business owner? There is no need to worry. You can use link auditing software to handle manual audits for you.
Should you discover anything suspicious, be sure to let Google know ASAP so you can disavow links.
Set Up Webmaster Tools Email Alerts
You can also set it up so that you get an email alert for malware attacks and pages problems. It’s best that you opt to receive alerts for any issue that could occur.
Safeguard Your Best Backlinks
You’ve likely got a handful of backlinks that you consider more valuable than others. If so, it’s best you do everything you can to protect them, mainly because spammers may try to snatch them away.
The best way to protect your backlinks is to use your domain address whenever you communicate with webmasters, so they know you actually work for the website. You should also sort your best backlinks according to social activity or page rank.
Secure Your Site
You can’t go wrong with standard security measures to protect your site from malware and hackers.
Depending on which site builder you use, there’s likely an authenticator plugin, or something similar.
Use it to set up a two-step authentication password. While you’ll have to add a generated code every time you log into your site, which can become cumbersome, you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your site is that much more secure.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Site’s Speed
You should also get to know how fast your site loads typically. You could be the victim of negative SEO tactics if your site is suddenly sluggish without any discernible reason.
Crawling software can help you get to the bottom of what’s going on. If it can’t find anything, forceful crawling could be to blame for your troubles.
Unlike spammy links, forceful crawling puts a heavy load on your servers, causing your site to operate sluggishly.
What’s worse is there’s a good chance your site could crash if the situation gets bad enough.
You’ll want to reach out to your webmaster or hosting company to pinpoint where the attack is coming from and find out what to do to combat it.
Go ahead and get a head start on locking your business site down from SEO attacks. An ounce of digital prevention is most certainly worth a pound of cure. Your future self is sure to thank you for being proactive.
Learn more about negative SEO, link building, and how to recover from penalties by downloading our FREE Link Building Guide.