What is Negative SEO?
You’ve heard of SEO, probably even gave it a go, but what you may not be familiar with is something known as negative SEO. Yep. You heard that right, negative SEO. Just one more practice you need to watch out for in trying to rank on the SERPs. So, what exactly are we talking about?
Negative SEO is a type of unethical practice or method used to lower the search engine ranking of one’s competitors. This may include anything from hacking a website to building tons of spammy backlinks to ultimately ruining a site’s online reputation. It’s a poor practice that unfortunately found its way into popularity, and something that is quite time consuming to recover from.
Recognizing Negative SEO
Are you wondering if your site is being targeted? There are many cases in which it may look like you are being targeted, however here are a few common causes for concern:
- An influx of links from foreign websites (.ru, .cz, .cn, etc.)
- An influx of spammy links containing content that involves gambling, pharmaceuticals, adult content, etc.
- A sudden and severe drop in your search traffic
- Your content duplicated, word for word, on other websites (duplicate content, without proper links, can cause Google to choose which version they want to show in search results, allowing other sites to potentially outrank you)
Protecting Your Site from Negative SEO
It’s important to note that negative SEO is easier to prevent than it is to fix, or reverse. To help keep your website from succumbing to these attacks, keep the following tips and practices in mind:
- Monitor & Remove Poor Backlinks – This is probably one of the most important measures you can take, as links are often the culprit of damaging SEO. There is an array of both free and paid platforms, such as Moz, that help keep track of and monitor backlinks associated with your website. Keep an eye on respectable links, making sure they don’t disappear, and take the time to remove spammy ones that could bring down your domain authority.
- Secure Your Website – In the age of modern technology and advanced hackers, security is of the upmost importance, especially if you run an e-commerce website. Help secure your website from the start by installing a 2-step verification password for your online login, utilize strong passwords with numbers and special characters, consistently backup your files and database, and employ virus software. At Kraus, we take website security very seriously and are more than happy to discuss measures you can take.
- Monitor Your Social Media – Hackers and spammers may attempt to create fake social media profiles for your business in order to harm your reputation. Sign up for a tool that monitors when your company name is mentioned online and take action to remove fake accounts before they gain any traction or following.
- Don’t Hurt Yourself in the Process – As you work to incorporate a positive SEO strategy into your marketing campaign, make sure you are not accidentally penalizing your own site rankings. This includes bad practices such as link purchasing, linking to poor or penalized domains, ignoring drastic keyword or site ranking drops, trying “black hat” tricks to outrank competitors, and more.
Negative SEO sounds scary, but the odds are, your site is doing just fine. Google does its best to protect websites, no matter how confusing each algorithm update may be. However, if you feel you are at risk, or maybe you just want to improve your site rankings the good old fashioned (and ethical) way, contact the team at Kraus Marketing. Our digital strategists are here to boost your organic traffic!