Business owners who discover the power of search engine optimization (SEO) often believe that it is only a tool for good that helps them to drive traffic to their website. The truth about SEO is that there are tactics that serve to grow your web traffic safely and there are those that are designed to provide quick results that go against the rules. Those who know how to use the latter strategies can use them against you to drive your traffic down and get you penalized by Google. Understanding how to avoid having these tactics employed on your website begins with improving your education around SEO. To help you get started, here is a guide on what negative SEO is and how to protect your site from it.
Negative SEO refers to the use of black hat SEO strategies in order to ruin another website’s ranking. More often than not, these strategies are employed by competitors looking to sabotage your business. However, it can be hard to defend yourself if you don’t know what you should be looking for. What does black hat SEO look like? Some ways malicious parties can attack your website include:
- Hacking your website outright in order to ruin it
- Purchasing tons of low-authority backlinks designed to get you penalized by Google
- Linking your website to certain keywords like those associated with gambling or pornography
- Taking your content and reposting it across the web
- Getting the most important backlinks for your site removed
- Sabotaging you by creating fake profiles and ruining your reputation
As you can see from the above, those who know black hat SEO and are technologically-savvy can do a number on your business and its progress. So, how are you supposed to defend yourself against it?
How to Defend Yourself Against Negative SEO
In the event of negative SEO attacks, it is best to have defenses in place to handle these kinds of issues. You can start doing this by:
1. Educating Yourself on SEO
It can be hard to defend yourself against something if you do not fully understand it. Additionally, trying to counteract the effects of black hat SEO can be difficult if you do not know how to use white hat SEO strategies. The best way to get started is to find a comprehensive content optimization ebook that teaches you more about SEO and how to improve your own, especially when it comes to areas where hackers may not be able to reach. Over time, you will become more knowledgable on this subject and grow your website using your knowledge.
2. Regularly Auditing Your Links
Find link auditing software that will allow you to scour the web for backlinks and find any that look spammy and were not produced by your efforts. While this is something that is wise to do regularly anyway, this can be an especially effective method to catch any negative SEO tactics before they become a major issue.
3. Improving Your Security (On-Site and Off-Site)
For those who wish to hack your website, having the right antivirus tools makes a world of difference in whether or not others are able to get in. You should also seek out further ways to protect your website and the information on it. Otherwise, you run the risk of malicious actors being able to get in and make changes or cause damage.
4. Looking for Any Scraped Content
Some website owners will take your blog posts and post them as “new content” on their website, which is a process known as content scraping. However, some will take it one step further with spammy backlinks to further devalue your content and your website. Make sure to look for plagiarized, republished content on other websites to defend yourself against this common tactic.
5. Constantly Searching for Any Changes to Your Site or Ranking
Whenever something changes on your site or in regards to your ranking, ask yourself, why? Is my website slower because of something I did? Did my website drop in ranking because of an issue in my SEO strategy? While they may be simple fixes that you need to take care of, asking yourself questions and staying alert is the best way to protect yourself against attacks.
Negative SEO is a damaging strategy that others may employ to ruin your website. If you wish to make sure that you are able to successfully avoid and defend against such attacks, use the guide above to learn more about negative SEO and how you can start building your knowledge and defenses.