Protecting your website from negative SEO tactics is essential if you want to maintain your organic traffic levels. Negative SEO essentially compromises a competitor deliberately targeting your website with spammy SEO tactics to try to force search engines, like Google, to lower your keyword rankings. In extreme circumstances it can involve hacking your site and jeopardizing your content.
The most common forms that negative SEOs take in off-site form are:
1. Link Farms – SEO attacks usually involve building links to your site from a group of interconnected sites, or link farms. This sends signals to Google that you are trying to game their algorithms and may lead to a manual penalty from Google.
2. Scraping – scraping your content and copying it across other sites thus creating duplicate content issues.
3. Forceful Crawling – desperate competitor may try to crash your site by forcefully crawling it and causing heavy server load. If the Google bots can’t get on your site to index it on multiple occasions then it can’t index your site and, hey presto, you may disappear from view. Slow loading pages are a negative signal to Google.
On-page forms of negative SEO attacks include:
1. Modifying Content – the attacker adds spammy content to your site in the form of nefarious links to dodgy 3rd party sites. You need to check your code carefully as it will often be hidden from site.
2. Site De-indexed – if a hacker can gain access to your robots.txt file then they can basically tell search engines to go away and not index the content on the site via a disallow rule.
Being aware of the above negative SEO tactics is one of the first steps to keeping your website in the SERP’s you work so hard to achieve.
- Negative SEO isn’t the most likely reason for a drop in ranking, but needs to be considered.
- Companies need to be on the lookout for negative SEO to stop it as early as possible.
- Pay attention to all parts of the website to be aware of any unauthorized changes.
“Preventing a negative SEO attack isn’t something in your power, but spotting the attempt early enough to reverse the damage is possible.”