Negative SEO is the stuff of digital marketing nightmares. Negative SEO can rarely occur, but the thought is daunting nevertheless. A competitor could just as easily ruin the SEO ranking that you’ve worked so hard for. Don’t worry. This article will show you how you can avoid negative SEO. Let’s talk about what negative SEO really means, how it can happen, and how you can prevent it from happening.
What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO is a set of activities done by another individual or group aimed to push you out of the rankings for a particular set of keywords. These are often targeted at off-page SEO, where they will build unnatural links for your site. In other severe cases, they can even hack your site and modify its contents to alter your SEO optimization.
Here are some forms of Negative SEO attacks:
- Website hacking
- Building a large number of spammy links
- Sharing and copying your content on the internet
- Building backlinks to your site using improper keywords
- Removing your website backlinks
- Fake social media profiles and ruining your online reputation
How common is it?
Negative SEO is hard to do and can happen only rarely. Google’s algorithm makes it very hard to accomplish. It also takes a lot of effort, time, a particular advanced set of skills, and resources to pull off. Only the most serious people will go through the effort to launch and negative SEO attack on a site. Most people mistake typical SEO behavior as Negative SEO, when in fact, the chances of this happening are actually remote. But the threat is still real, and it’s better to be prepared on dealing with it if it happens to you.
How do you prevent a Negative SEO attack?
There are certain things you can do to avoid getting a negative SEO attack:
- Check your backlinks often.
One thing that can prevent an SEO attack is being able to see it before it even does any real damage. The most often used negative SEO attack is building your site low-quality links or redirects. You can prevent this from happening by keeping track of your backlinks profile. You can do this manually or use tracking software like Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, or MonitorBacklinks.
- Protect your backlinks.
You also need to protect the backlinks that you do have, especially the high-quality ones that attract a lot of traffic to your site. Other people can remove your best backlinks by contacting the owner of the website, in your name, and they will request that your backlink is removed. You can prevent this from happening by using an email address from your domain when you’re contacting site owners. This will prove your identity and will discourage webmasters from communicating with another email address that’s not on your domain. You can also keep track of your best backlinks using various tracking tools.
- Use Google Webmasters Tool
The best tool you can use to prevent a Negative SEO attack is the Google Webmaster Tools. Using Webmaster’s email alerts, you can be alerted when your website is being attacked by malware, if your pages aren’t indexed, your server is having connectivity problems, and if you get a manual penalty. Just connect your website to Webmaster and enable email alerts and you’re good to go.
- Protect your website from hackers and viruses.
Last but not the least, you should protect your site from malware and hackers. Securing your website should be your number one priority. You can start by installing the Google Authenticator plugin if you are using WordPress. This will allow you to set up a two-step verification password every time someone has to log in on your website. You should also create a strong password using numbers and special characters, back your files up regularly, and install antivirus on your site to prevent malware.