Popularly known as the “Black Hat SEO,” Negative SEO refers to the malicious tactics or unethical techniques which are used to sabotage the website rankings on the internet. Website hacking, spam generation, duplicate content creation, building fake company websites to ruin a company’s reputation, de-indexing websites, link farming, click fraud, malware addition, etc., are considered Negative SEO attacks.
Generally, online business competitors use Negative SEO techniques to weed out the competition from the online market. After all, only a few websites can appear on the front page of the search engine results, and so, not every online business owner prefers playing by the rule. The Negative SEO attacks have made the online world a battlefield for business owners. So let’s discuss step by step how to fix competitor’s negative SEO attacks.
Should you be worried about Negative SEO attacks?
Yes, Negative SEO attacks can be a real threat to your website’s online reputation. It has been seen that relatively new websites fall victim to Negative SEO attacks more. If there is any questionable web property on your site, you can be penalized for a whole month. So, you need to be concerned about the safety of your website.
Frequency of Negative SEO attacks
Negative SEO attacks can happen anytime. For some small business websites, Negative SEO attacks can happen at the time when they step foot in the online world. But for big online business websites, it can take several years before they are attacked by competitors’ Negative SEO. Negative SEO attacks are pretty common these days. The wrongdoers attempt such Negative SEO attacks quite randomly. So, it is necessary to protect your website from the very first day on the internet.
How can one identify the Negative SEO?
You need to check a few things before you are certain that you have been hit by Negative SEO. So let’s know about these things.
- An unexpected sudden drop in web traffic can be a sign of a Negative SEO attack. Not only this, but there will also be a drop in search engine ranking for your website at that time.
- If there is any unethical activity on your website, Google will send you a penalty notification. This is also a clear indication that your website has been hit by Negative SEO.
- You can also check the individual keyword rankings. If there is also a sudden drop, you can be sure that you are the victim of a Negative SEO attack.
- Some website owners also complain about getting incessant bad links to their websites during Negative SEO attacks.
Negative SEO attacks can be pretty damaging for your website. So, you should monitor your official business website every now and then. Try to spot the Negative SEO attacks successfully as early as possible.
How to recover from competitor’s negative SEO attacks?
Identification of bad links
You need to conduct an audit on your website to check the backlinks. For this, you can use either webmaster tools or Ahref. These tools will help you to identify spam. You can also go for a backlinks cleanup after a regular interval. With the help of these tools, you can remove and keep the links.
Reconsideration request for a penalty
Whenever you get the manual penalty notification from Google, you should start resolving the issues. You must remove all the spam from your website and also focus on the security issues if there are any. Now it is time to send a “reconsideration request” to your search engine platform. Also, mention that you have taken action against all the unethical website activities.
Check google analytics, security, and manual actions from now on
The manual penalty of Google generally helps the owners of the websites to diagnose the issues related to their websites. The issues can be unnatural links, user-generated spam, hacked websites, etc. You must resolve these issues as soon as possible. In addition, you need to be concerned about the security of your website to prevent Negative SEO attacks.
Monitor the large web traffic fluctuations
You can keep an eye on Google Analytics to spot the abrupt spikes in the web traffic. If you were hit by Negative SEO campaigns before, you could get track of that abrupt web traffic fluctuation in the previous records.
Google gives you some time to take down the bad links from your website. Once you are past the deadline and your website still contains some bad links, you can go for creating a disavow file. There can be extra sub-domains, directories, etc., in your website URL. Please get rid of those and focus on the main domain only.
Report spam and check for more internal spam pages
You should note down the spam links and their domains. You can send those domain reports of spam to your search engine anytime. The website owners need to be explicit while submitting the spam report. You should also look out for internal spam pages. Once you are done, clear all the junk from your website.
Safeguarding websites against malware
The malware attacks are also part of Negative SEO attacks. To prevent this type of attack, you should use a strong password of the administrator, enable two-step authentication, focus on security plugins and establish an automatic backup system.
Try to spot the copycats
The Negative SEO attack creates duplicate content also. So, you should use plagiarism-checking websites such as Grammarly, Copyscape, Quetext, etc., to identify other websites using your content.
Social media mentions
The competitors try to malign your reputation on social media with the help of Negative SEO techniques sometimes. So, you should start using some social listening tools such as HubSpot, Social Mention, etc., for your website. If there is anything bad being said about your website, you can contact the head office of that social media platform to remove such posts from the web.
There is a profound proverb that “prevention is better than cure.” So, business website owners should remain vigilant all the time regarding Negative SEO methods. If they use the latest tools, it will be easier for them to spot Negative SEO attacks. This way, they can reduce the harm to the website due to competitors’ negative SEO attacks.
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