How Can You Protect Your Site From Negative SEO?
“Search engine optimization (SEO) is a wonderful practice that always helps your website!”
While we’d love for that statement to be true 100 percent of the time, it’s not. In fact, there are even SEO practices out there that can harm your site’s reputation with Google and hurt your rankings.
Reputable SEO firms avoid “black hat” SEO practices—cheating the Google system— like the plague. But there are always companies trying to gain any advantage they can, even if they have to resort to “negative SEO” to take a competitor down a notch in Google.
Let’s look at how prevalent negative SEO is and what you can do to minimize your chances of being a victim.
What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO is the practice of using unethical actions to deflate the success of a competing website. It can range from full-on site hacks to mass amounts of bad backlinks or fabricated negative reviews.
Although Google has many practices in place to thwart online deceivers and protect most websites, negative SEO sometimes slips through the cracks. It can also be a chore to correct.
How Can You Prevent Negative SEO?
Thanks to Google’s diligence, it’s extremely rare for negative SEO attacks to tank your site’s rankings. Rare—but not impossible. Here are some easy ways to check up on your site to avoid negative SEO.
Keep Your Site Clear of Link Farmers
Link farms are a group of connected websites that try to increase their SEO ranking by continuous linking among the group. For nearly a decade now, Google has pinned link farming as black hat SEO. Yet each week our inboxes continue to be filled with spammers offering amazing link farming opportunities…
If you’ve tried cheap SEO offers or overseas agencies, make sure your site isn’t caught up in a link scam. Keep track of who is linking to your site with routine monitoring of your site’s backlinks. If you notice a sudden spike of linking, you’re almost certainly showing up on low quality sites.
Programs like Ahrefs and SEO Spyglass can help you identify who is linking to your site. If you see negative SEO, Google’s disavow tool can help get your site back in its good graces.
Connect With Google’s Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools helps your website positively interact with Google and informs site owners when their site falls out of line.
Signing up your website with Webmaster Tools automatically grants you the ability to receive important alerts that could protect your site from negative SEO. Watch for:
- Unindexed pages
- Malware attacks on your site
- Manual penalties from Google
Webmaster Tools is an easy and effective way to track down any negative hits against your site and quickly resolve the problem. It’s something we implement within each of the projects we take on at Dallas SEO Dogs.
Check for “Scraped” Content
You probably know that duplicate content is a bad SEO practice. Well, so do evil competitors. If your site’s content gets scraped and duplicated elsewhere, your site rankings may take a hit.
Thanks to Google’s Panda update (years ago), scraping is usually easy to track and the original source is the page that Google ranks well. Unfortunately, scrapers also know this and will often target your brand new content with the hope that Google indexes their copy first.
It’s a great practice to routinely check your site for duplicate content. A website like Siteliner or Copyscape can help uncover any pages that are duplicates and show site owners which sites scraped their content.
If an owner finds their content on another site, there are several ways to resolve the issue:
- Reach out to the site directly and request the owners take the content down
- Contact the site’s host
- Inform search engines of the situation
Report Negative Website Reviews
Negative reviews are among the easiest ways for a competitor to covertly tank a site’s rankings. Fortunately, this negative SEO tactic is one of the easiest to keep an eye on. You know who your customers are, so when you notice a negative review on your Google My Business account, be positive about its origins.
If the review is from an obviously fake client, the error is easy to report and resolve between search engines and your digital marketing team.
Keep Your SEO Moving in a Positive Direction With Dallas SEO Dogs
Dallas SEO Dogs is a team of digital marketing experts who always use industry best practices for our clients. We have experience in every industry and work with you to make your site’s SEO clean and Google-friendly.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and to schedule your free consultation with a member of our team.