It is possible to harm, if not destroy, a site through the use of malignant backlinks and forceful backlink spamming. The negative SEO is a rightful danger that can result in lost organic search visibility and revenue. Therefore, it is possible to shield against negative SEO.
What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO is the practice of executing wrong SEO techniques on another site. Usually, a disgruntled competitor and his or her follower with the goal of reducing the site’s rankings unleash an SEO attack. Most of the SEOs are happy with the rules. Websites publish their content, promote their selves on social media, and roll up with the punches every time Google updates their algorithm. However, there are times, when you get on the wrong side of someone who does not share your conscience. They might bog down your site with hundreds of spam links, full of fake reviews or simply hack your website entirely. However, if you are careful and alert, you can usually catch malicious SEO attacks before they do irrevocable harm.
Whether you are a victim or might get attacked, here are five things that you can follow to protect your website against negative SEO.
Negative SEO is real. It is possible to damage, if not destroy, a site through the use of malicious backlinks and aggressive backlink spamming. Negative SEO is a legitimate danger that can result in lost organic search visibility and revenue. But it is possible to defend against negative SEO.
Whether or simply want to protect against a potential attack, here are five things you can do to protect your website against negative SEO.
1. Perform Regular Link Audits
Regular link audits are good practice for any business, but they can save your bacon if you’re ever the victim of a negative SEO attack. Monitoring your link profile growth is hands down the best way to spot suspicious activity before it spirals out of control. Nevertheless, if you suddenly notice a drop and have not been working on link building then some actions should be raised.
A very recent case of negative SEO happened with Robert Neu, founder of WP Bacon, a WordPress podcast site. It was in 2014 he was the victim of link spam, which gave him thousands of links with the anchor text “Porn Movie.” This negative result cost him hundreds of visits, and he dropped 50 spots in ranking for one of his main keywords. However, due to his strong efforts, Neu was able to recover rankings and traffic that he lost as a result of the attack in relatively short order. Despite a continued stream of spam, he was able to submit a rejected file listing the attacking domains. Links can also suffer if you have been hacked. At times, the hacker can alter your content to include spam links or modify your links to redirect to theirs. These attacks are dangerous and can be difficult to spot, and the only way to safeguard your website is to perform regular audits. It is crucial that you monitor your link profile growth carefully so that you can catch an attack before it costs you too much. Use the link auditing software or perform a manual audit to check on your backlink health.
2. Keep an Eye on your Site Speed
Speed is a key ranking factor. If your website is becoming lethargic and you have no idea why you should use the crawling software to look for anything suspicious. If you cannot find anything and there is still a problem, you might be the victim of forceful crawling. This causes a heavy server load, which means your site will slow down and might even crash. If you are a victim, you should contact your hosting company or webmaster to try and determine where the load is coming from.
3. Watch your Keywords
In late 2014, Bartosz Goralewicz experienced something strange, a client’s site was getting thousands of hits that would land on the page and then immediately bounce. This began to have an effect on their rankings, the user experience is also an important signal, and this looked like bad UX. The main issue that happened was that someone had programmed a bot to target certain keywords, land on competitor’s sites, and then bounce, which created a false SERP bounce rate. This dangerous attack is difficult to be spotted if proper monitoring is not done for the keywords CTR. Just log into Google Search and look at your CTR across all keywords. If you notice a downfall without any reason, contact Google.
4. Search for Scrapped Content
Content marketing has been very famous for the past few years, but everyone is not equally creative when it comes to content creation. Consequently, scraping has become all too frequent. Scraping is the method of lifting content from your website and copying it to other websites. Usually, the attacker will claim this to be his own in an attempt to beef up their thin content, but at times they will combine it with a link farm attack to spam your site.
5. Upgrade your security
Negative SEO may not be common, but cyber attacks definitely are. Make sure your software is up to date and all security methods are applied to your software. In addition, make sure that your CMS software is well equipped with a powerful encryption system to protect users. Also, migrate your site to HTTPS, especially if you are having an e-commerce site. Not only does HTTPS encryption offer you better security, but it is also a ranking signal and it might improve your overall SEO ranking.
On a concluding note, we can state that Cyber attacks are not technically negative SEO, but they will have an impact on your SEO. Google is good at catching problematic linking behavior and curtailing it before it has an impact on your SERPs. If you think that you have been the victim of negative SEO, do what you can to isolate the problem. Your best bet is to monitor your site performance carefully and to catch up with problems before they escalate.