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What is Negative SEO and How You Can Fight it

Apr 07, 2022

Written by Casey Bjorkdahl

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Casey Bjorkdahl is one of the pioneering thought leaders in the SEO community. In 2010, Casey co-founded Vazoola after working for a Digital Marketing Agency for five years in New York City. Vazoola is now one of the fastest growing and most widely recognized SEO marketing firms in the country.

What is Negative SEO and How You Can Fight it

Negative SEO and its Implications

A website is an essential platform for spreading your ideas, products, and services. The more people you can attract through organic search, the more potential clients you’re likely to have. This is one of the reasons why businesses invest in SEO services. However, all the gains made by your SEO marketing efforts can be hindered by Negative SEO.

What is negative SEO? 

Negative SEO are malicious practices aimed at decreasing the site ranking of competitor websites. A sudden drop in your website search ranking could be a consequence of a negative SEO attack. You may have unknowingly been a victim of black hat negative SEO before.

Negative SEO Techniques

Before you find a solution for negative SEO, let’s first dissect the several types of negative SEO. These attacks can be off-page or on-page.

  • Scraping: This tactic involves duplicating a website’s content and spreading the fakes or duplicates across the web.
  • Fake Negative Reviews: Negative SEO experts use this technique to ruin the reputation of your website or brand. Because of the damage to reputation, traffic can drop.
  • Hacking and Malware: This can be one of the costliest tactics. This is because Google flags websites that have been hacked, and no user will click on such websites.         
  • Toxic Backlinks: Public blog networks, automated software, and link farms are commonly used to direct bad links to competitor websites.
  • Fake Removal Requests: Your competitors can pretend to be you and contact webmasters asking them to remove links on your website.
  • De-indexing: Your competitors can access your robots.txt file and change the content to tell Google to de-index your website. The disallow rule is used to de-index websites from search engines.
  • Forceful Crawling: This technique is used to slow down your website. This is because forceful crawling causes heavy server loads, which lowers website speed. Forceful crawling can also cause your website to crash.

Now that you know the types of negative SEO, you have an idea of how to detect negative SEO. Many unscrupulous businesses are willing to buy negative SEO services to sabotage their competitors. This is why you should always stay alert and protect yourself.

How to Fight Negative SEO

Black hat negative SEO is a significant threat to businesses and individuals who rely on their online presence to engage with people. White it’s not always clear if negative SEO is illegal, it's important to know how to report it protect your website from negative SEO. Follow the below steps to mitigate negative SEO.

Prevent Spammy Backlinks

One of the common negative SEO tactics is directing spammy links to competitor websites. Google will detect these spammy links and potentially punish the website receiving the links, which is the overall goal of negative SEO. This is an example of how negative SEO works to undermine your website and business.

Use backlink audit tools to check the quality of your backlinks. Any suspicious changes in the backlink profile may indicate an increase in the number of toxic links. Furthermore, your website domain authority score can shed some insight on the quality of backlink profiles. A drop in the score may suggest your backlink profile is becoming compromised.

You should regularly update your disavow file. Download the file and submit it to the Google disavow tool. Set up your SEO tool to send you email alerts whenever your website gains or loses important backlinks.

Protect Quality Backlinks

Sending spammy or toxic links is not the only negative SEO tactic in your competitor’s bag. Your competitor may hire negative SEO attack services to remove the best links from your website. This means that, in addition to checking out for spammy links to your website, you must also protect your quality backlinks from removal.

Negative SEO consultants would contact website owners of your links using your name, asking them to remove the links. To prevent such scenarios, always use an email address from your domain when communicating with other website owners. Instead of using services like yahoo or Gmail, use a domain address that looks like this – In addition, keep track of your best backlinks using your preferred SEO tools.

Adding new backlinks is the best way to improve your website’s rankings and can be very helpful if you’ve become a victim of negative SEO efforts. Working to undo negative SEO is time consuming, and link building is extra effort on top of that. A great link building service makes it easy and grants access to powerful backlinks that will help boost rankings. Working with an SEO company who can assist in link building and combating negative SEO is a great option for most websites. 

Secure Your Website

A website that is not secure is an easy target for malware and hackers. Although hackers may not have negative SEO as their goal, the consequences on your website’s search rankings can be similar to negative SEO. If you use a CMS like WordPress, there are several plugins you can use to enhance the security of your website.

Set up Google Search Console notifications to send you alerts for security breaches. In addition, you should regularly run seo audits to detect negative SEO and overall technical issues on your website. If you have been hacked, you can report the case to the Federal Trade Commission.

Check for Duplicate Content

Content duplication is a common black hat SEO technique. Your website may be punished or lose rankings because your web content is duplicated on many online platforms. You can use an online duplicate content checker to see if your content has been copied.

Report Fake Reviews

The only way to deal with fake reviews is to report them. However, removing fake reviews from the relevant platform can be a slow process. In addition, encourage your clients to leave reviews to counter the negative effects of fake reviews.

Final Thoughts on Negative SEO

Working on your SEO is important. Preventing negative SEO is equally important. This means that negative SEO detection and prevention should be part of your SEO investment. Otherwise, you’ll be taking five steps forward, three steps backward. Protect your website from these negative SEO tactics for better and consistent search engine rankings.

See Similar Articles:  SEO Strategy

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