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How to Protect Your Site from Negative SEO

How to Protect Your Site from Negative SEO

May 15, 2020

SEO is not only the best practice for any website to gain high SERP ranking but it is something which is a ‘must’ for all. It doesn’t matter how beautiful, relevant, or informative content is present on your website, if your site is not search engine optimized, you won’t be able to overpower your competitors. 

Just like a coin has two sides, SEO also has two faces and due to which several businesses experience low SERP rankings despite doing everything right even in the context of SEO. The reason for this could the attack of negative SEO on your website. There is no doubt that these kinds of attacks are not so frequent but still, it is important to take precautionary measures to avoid any harm to the reputation of your brand in the eyes of clients as well as Google. Before we move ahead, let us take a look at negative SEO. 

What is negative SEO?

Negative SEO is one of the black hat SEO practices generally used by your competitors to bring SERP ranking of your website down for a specific keyword. So, if it happens, you might see a sudden drop in search traffic of your website, any penalty notification by the search engine for violating Webmaster guidelines, and a drop in keyword ranking. Thus, prevention is always better than cure and hence, you must take appropriate action to avoid this threat on your site.

Tips to protect your site’s SE

  • Link Audits

Just like your car needs regular servicing, it is also important to regularly perform an audit of your site’s backlinks. Doing this will give you the data on how your links are behaving. With regular link check, if you find out a sudden rise or drop in web traffic through those links especially when you are not making any efforts on link building, then this is a suspicious thing. In such situations, you must check all the links of your website and look for any malicious activity. Not only to protect your site from negative SEO but regular link audit is also important in maintaining a good SEO score. Keeping a record of your backlink profile will also be a good idea. 

  • Best backlinks must be protected

As the sole purpose of negative SEO is to hurt your site’s ranking and we know that backlinks play a vital role in improving & maintaining good SERP ranking. So, it is likely that those who want to hurt you will target your best or we must say established backlinks that are there on trusted sites and giving you genuine traffic. One of the ways by which they can hurt you is contacting the site owner at which your link is established using your name and request to remove that. Thus, it should be prevented and it is advised to always use email of your domain name while contacting for getting backlinks. Another thing that you can do is tag your valuable backlinks so it will become easier for you to identify when anyone gets removed. 

  • Site speed monitoring

The loading speed of your site is vital for maintaining a good SEO score. If your site is slow and it is taking too much time to load then visitors will move to another platform even before anything appears on your website and this will result in an increased bounce rate. While, if page loading speed of your site is good enough and suddenly you find it slower than expected, it could be the sign of spamming or we must say forceful crawling. To notice any suspicious activity, you can make use of a crawling software and if you encounter any, do contact your hosting provider or Webmaster. 

  • Look for scraped content

If your site has any content that has been picked from someone else’s website and Google has recognized it, then your site will lose value as content scrapping is not something Google admires. Thus, you must check for scraped content using a dedicated tool or software. If the scraped content is indexed first by search engine bots then the original one present on your web page will be considered copied and as a result, you will see a drop in search engine rankings. 

In case any scraped content is found, you must request the site’s owner to remove that and if ignored or refused, it is advised to seek the help of Google’s Copyright Removal Form. 

  • Regularly monitor Google my Business

It takes a lot to build the trust of your clients and get positive reviews from them on your Google my Business listing. Yes, it is also true that not only positive ones we also get negative reviews and that is not a shameful thing. Negative reviews tell us what improvements are required to become better hence; we take them as motivation. But suddenly if you find out that Your Google my Business page is filled with only negative reviews especially when you have not made any mistake, then it is a sign that someone is trying to push you down.

In such a situation, you must report fake reviews and to prevent worsening of the condition, you must regularly check into your Google my Business account and monitor it for any fake reviews. 

  • Keep check of SERP ranking of your website

A sudden unexpected drop in the SERP ranking of your website could be the result of any malicious activity on your site. Thus, it is always important to regularly monitor where your website is positioned for certain keywords. To keep check of this without much hassle, you can use rank tracking software and immediately call for action if the site drops down to an uncertain position. Before taking any big action, do check whether everything is on its place in Google Search Console or not. 

  • Check social media mentions

Spammers can cross any barrier to bringing down your website’s ranking for their own good. They can even enter social media by creating fake accounts using your company details. Those accounts then can be used to downgrade the reputation of your brand and if left unnoticed, the harm could be serious. To avoid this condition, you must regularly check your social media mentions and use a good tool that can raise alerts when someone uses your brand name. It will be the best idea to keep track of your social media mentions.

While on the other hand, if you find out any fake social media profiles, get them removed by reporting as spam. 

  • Improve your site’s security level

To make sure that the user’s data is secure, it is important for your website to be HTTPS encrypted. You must also ensure that all security patches are applied to your software and are updated as well. Considering this will not only provide protection from negative SEO attacks but also cyber threats.

An encrypted website also gives a positive signal for the overall SEO of your website. If Google finds any website being hacked, it will show a message in the search results below that site mentioning “this site may be hacked.” Reading this warning will drive the traffic away from that website and if it’s yours, you can imagine how harmful it could be. 

Thus, site encryption is a must and it should be seriously considered. 

The Bottom Line

It takes months and sometimes years to build a strong and unbeatable website. Along with time, a blend of a lot of resources and human efforts are also required to create a business with a huge base of trustworthy clients. But, if even a slight pit hole or carelessness is there in your strategies, it could lead towards bad SEO score. SEO is not something that is done once and then left unnoticed. You must know that the digital world is ever-changing thus, constant tweaking is required in your SEO strategies. Above all, negative SEO is one such factor that can ruin everything even if you did nothing wrong. 

So, as a part of a routine SEO check, you must consider all these above-mentioned tips to detect any malicious activity on your website as early as possible and report that before it creates serious harm. Adopting these strategies will protect you from negative SEO attack and help you put a strong foot forward to show your competitors and also to those who want to put you down that who you are and what you are capable of. Just like vaccines protect you from serious health diseases, these techniques will protect you from your spammers.

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