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Negative SEO Attacks are common: how do we know? Clients contact us and share their stories, so we have first-hand knowledge.
Read that sentence again, because it could very well explain why your competition is at the top of the search results while you have either suddenly lost ranking or have been struggling to move up.
The good news is that we are here to help you.
The reality is that a website’s rankings fluctuate from day to day, and not every instance of a rankings drop is due to poor backlink profiles–many times it is the result of bad onpage signals, a slow website, a lackluster SEO campaign, or because your competition is performing at a higher level to outrank you.
If you are trying to determine whether you have actually been attacked by negative SEO techniques, one tell-tale sign is a rapid rankings drop combined with a large spike in links for your keywords or for terms that have nothing to do with your website.
If you are facing an extreme situation like the one described, our services above can be used to dilute your anchor text, or for boosting tiered properties you own to improve your site’s ranking. In some cases, this is the result of being listed on a site that uses sitewide links, or because your SEO mistakenly built too many links or used the wrong terms. Mistakes happen.
While link dilution is a smart solution, exercise caution when pointing our links at your site directly since it may have a negative impact upon your rankings.
Whether or not your link profile reflects a huge mistake or something that was intentionally done, the effects are frustrating when having to deal with the problem. There is little that can be done to prevent other people, even competitors, from building backlinks to your site…in fact, backlinks are the very fabric of what we know as the word wide web.
Without links, there are no roadmaps to lead from one site to the next, but regardless of what your website is dealing with now, there are several paths of action you can take.
What to do after a negative SEO attack
- Do nothing about what appears to be either a negative SEO attack or a neglected link profile: this is simply like throwing your hands in the air when your physician says you have a health concern. Inaction will rarely fix the problem, and often only makes matters worse. Like the ostrich who buries its head in the sand, giving up on your website isn’t going to help matters.
- Change the permalinks on your affected pages and hope for the best (unless it is your main page!): most sites can simply change and remap their url structure to try to disassociate from unwanted links. However, this is a short term solution, and rarely effective.
- Hide from search engines: while this means that you probably won’t have to deal with concerns about your backlink profile, it also means you won’t be seen in the SERPS, so setting your site to noindex is not a viable solution.
- Try to rank again: this is a complex and laborious process, but using a large influx of links to dilute your keywords and increase the number of linking domains can help to reduce overoptimization. Still, if your site is already healthy, you should avoid blasting directly to your site as this could have negative results. Instead, you want to check out this service.
- Fight back: one way to deal with a site suffering from performance issues is to make up your mind to regain control of your site and ranking. Let us take care of the disavowal process and help you fight back by building a stronger online presence.
In a perfect world, site owners would not have to deal with this issue; however, we need to face reality rather than what we might wish the world was like. Sometimes to effect change, one has to be courageous and to take a bold step in the direction of rebuilding. That said, one should also be extraordinarily cautious when assuming that a ranking problem is always related to something someone else did. In fact, as we’ve already mentioned, many sites suffer because they hired a well-meaning, but incompetent SEO who built low-quality links that search engines didn’t like.
Yet, if you think you may have been the victim of a negative SEO attack and feel that your search engine ranking has plummeted because of it, contact us now to get back on track again with our link dilution and disavowal services.
Not only can we help you defend yourself from the effects of negative SEO tactics, but we can help you recover your lost rankings. This is not an easy process, nor is it a quick one; however, this is what you must do now. We are on your side, and are happy to help.
Please note: We do not advocate the use of our backlink campaigns for a site you do not own or control. Your use of our service indicates your agreement with this policy.
How To Tackle Negative SEO Attacks And Rule Over Search Engines
Wondering how to detect and deflect negative SEO attacks? We’ve got you covered with this informative guide covering the A-B-C of this “black hat” tactic.
As if understanding the intricacies of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) wasn’t enough, multiple sites are using negative SEO to sabotage online competitors.
Despite the strict authority and quality checks run by Google, some sly minds manage to find certain loopholes, allowing for unethical SEO practices. This lets the negative SEO practitioner disrupt the healthy and honest competition among websites, and claim high search engine rankings.
Thus, it becomes important for an ethical online business to identify the different types of negative SEO attacks to safeguard its position in the competitive SEO space out there.
What Is A Negative SEO Attack?
Negative SEO tactics involve manipulating Google rankings by indulging in “Black Hat SEO” practices. A negative SEO attack does not cause any changes in the appearance and functionality of a website but will significantly degrade search ranking and decrease the organic traffic. Hence, identifying a negative SEO attack has become more complicated nowadays.
Moreover, negative SEO practitioners may be your competitors who want to take your market share, a newbie who wants to take the shortcut to success, or someone who’s just testing out the integrity of their own website SEO. Interestingly, a negative SEO attack may happen unintentionally, too.
Types Of Negative SEO Tactics
Negative SEO consists of both on-page and off-page aspects, with some of the common tactics explained below…
PBNs (public blog networks), link farms, and more are common tools for spammers to generate low-quality links pointing towards your website.
Initially started as a Gray Hat technique, a link farm is a bunch of interconnected bad links used to increase the popularity of a site or tarnish the reputation of another. Some site owners may even purchase such unnatural links to boost their own site’s ranking.
However, ever since the Penguin algorithm in 2012 helped identify unnatural links to a great extent and penalized such backlinks.
Creating duplicate content from your website and spreading it across various web pages is another popular negative SEO practice. As a result, multiple web pages with the same content ranked high on search engines until Google introduced the Panda algorithm in 2011.
Now, when Google finds multiple duplicate contents, it picks one original version for ranking. Most of the time, it is successful in correctly picking the original source, but the algorithm is not 100% fail-proof.
Efficiency Of Negative SEO
Since Google constantly updates itself to detect negative SEO practices accurately, hardly any SEO agency can benefit from link farms, fake reviews, and more. However, that does not make one’s website safe from attackers.
While Google can clearly distinguish between genuine backlinks and toxic links, low-quality content and a poor backlink profile may be more susceptible to a negative SEO attack. In hindsight, if you maintain the quality of your website, the SEO attacker may lose a lot of time, money, and effort, thereby getting the shorter end of the stick.
Thus, a negative SEO attack needs to be designed and executed cautiously to cause substantial harm to the competitor’s rankings.
How To Know If A Negative SEO Attack?
Despite the low chance of falling prey to negative SEO practitioners, Google isn’t completely reliable. Thus, here’s a list of measures you can take to protect your website from hackers…
1. Reduce Your Loading Time
You already know how important fast loading time is for attracting viewers and gaining conversions. Thus, spammers often opt for slowing down your site and increasing server load by sending multiple requests per second without any intention of interacting with the website.
For this, you can use Google Analytics and enable email alerts to get notified every time your site slows down. Pingdom is another helpful tool that allows you to keep an eye on the loading time of your site.
Consequently, you may have to enable caching, optimize images, remove unnecessary plugins, and more.
2. Enable Google Search Console Email Alerts
For starters, connecting your website to Google Search Console will help prevent attacks as you will be notified in case of malware attacks, server connectivity issues, manual penalization, etc. Doing so will allow you to implement better SEO practices like disavowing links, monitoring backlinks, etc.
3. Check For Content Duplication
As mentioned earlier, content duplication is a quick and easy way out for hackers to practice negative SEO and harm your site reputation. So, to avoid penalization, you can use paid tools like Copyscape to check if your content contains any fake versions across the internet.
All you have to do is copy and paste your content or URL on the given box, and search for results. Alternatively, you can upload files directly from your device. Thereafter, Copyscape will show a list of websites with matching content, accompanied by the percentage of matches.
4. Secure Your Website
Protecting your website from malware attacks can help a great deal in preventing high-profile hacking and other cyber offenses. And the best part is that you won’t require a lot of effort and money in doing so.
For instance, WordPress users can employ the Google Authenticator Plugin and enable the 2-step verification process. As a result, every time you try to log in, the Google Authenticator will send a code to your smartphone, which will be required to access the account.
Additionally, ensure that you create a strong, unique password and regular backups of your important files. And if your website allows viewers to install files, get in touch with your web hosting provider and opt for effective antivirus software solutions.
5. Monitor Backlinks Regularly
Statistically, a page with more backlinks gets more organic traffic on Google. Thus, manipulating your backlinks profile is the most common type of negative SEO attack, and regular site audits are essential for keeping spammers and attackers at bay.
Thankfully, tools like Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, and SEMRush allow you to manually keep an eye on your profile, and recognize if someone is trying to add low-quality links. Additionally, it is best to opt for a tool that sends you email alerts when you gain new links or lose important backlinks.
6. Protect Important Backlinks
Adding to the previous point, protecting good-quality links is the next step towards securing your website from attackers. For this, too, you can use the above-mentioned tools, classify your most important backlinks, and choose to receive notifications in case of any changes.
Further, you can contact site owners/webmasters to restore important backlinks if removed. While doing so, ensure that you use your domain address instead of Google or Yahoo IDs to prove credibility.
Also, if the chosen SEO tool has an option to tag your best backlinks, do so for easier reference in the future. Consequently, you’ll be able to filter the backlinks and observe the status changes regularly.
7. Administrate Your Social Media Activity
All of us know that social media is a boon and a bane at the same time, especially for those trying to make a name in the online market. While it works efficiently to boost brand awareness and reach your target audience, it doesn’t take long to lose credibility if you’re not cautious.
As a result, attackers can easily harm your reputation by creating multiple spam accounts and leaving fake reviews for your products/services. In such a case, you can start by reporting such profiles before they get attention from other viewers.
You can further use tools like Mention.net. to find out who is using your brand name illegally. Basically, you will receive notifications whenever someone mentions your name online. Accordingly, you can determine whether you are being attacked and want to remove such engagement.
How To Detect And Deflect A Negative SEO Attack?
Now, let’s say, even after undertaking the above-mentioned steps, an SEO agency manages to attack your website. Fret not, we’ve got you covered for that, too…
1. Recognize The Spam Links On Your Backlink Profile
Just as you can add tags for important links on the backlink profile, you can do the same for any recently created wrong links. However, you will have to check each link manually and identify the ones harming your Google rankings.
We also recommend performing this check as soon as you get notified about new links or the removal of old links on your backlink profile.
2. Remove Such Toxic Links
The next step is to remove the manipulative links from your backlink profile by contacting the webmaster or your hosting company. If you are unsure of whom to contact, you can search for the right company and email address from WhoIsHostingThis.com and Whois.com/whois.
3. Create A Disavow File
Google’s Disavow Tool is hands down the best of the lot for preventing link spam and protecting your site’s rankings. There are multiple SEO optimization tools that can help you create a disavow file and submit it to Google.
Note that such bad links may sometimes be created by accident, or the constant changes in the Google search algorithm may convert a useful link into spam. Thus, the disavow tool helps in all of such cases by removing bad links from your backlink profile.
With that, we come to the end of this extensive guide on negative SEO, its effects on your rankings and Google search results, and ways of tackling it. If you’ve got any issues with negative SEO services, visit our page here for more.