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Negative SEO? Here's How You Protect Your Business

Every website owner aims to get a lot of traffic through search engine optimisation.  This is the goal.  However, there are those who are willing to go around the rules or bend them altogether by resorting to bad SEO strategies.  Unfortunately, this affects your SEO rank.  You need every possible tool in order to protect your site against negative SEO.


What is Negative SEO?


Negative SEO is also referred to as Black Hat SEO.  It involves highly unethical techniques that can adversely affect your page rank.  Imagine investing a lot of time, money, and effort on getting your website to page one of Google results, only to have your competitor succeed in lowering your rank through Black Hat SEO.  What can you do to prevent this and protect your website?


Unfortunately, this happens.  Competitors could focus on dragging your page rank instead of focusing on getting their ranks up. It's a quick way to get ahead of the competition without investing a lot of time on link building.  Of course, there are other reasons why your competitor could employ negative SEO.  They could also do it to get revenge.  They could get some sort of enjoyment from it.


Negative SEO can be done in different ways.  They can copy your content, and spread it all over the Internet.  They can acquire illegal access on other sites and erase alternative content.  They can link unrelated content to your website as well.  They do all this to score a penalty on the competitor's website and their rank.  Ultimately, all these black hat strategies erase the site from the search index.


Kinds of Negative SEO


•    Creating a Private Blog Network


Link building can be challenging, but it's not the case if you have several blogs linking to each other.  Those looking to use this technique will look for expired domains of good quality.  Usually, the previous owners of these websites may have worked hard on these sites' SEO, getting legitimate backlinks from high-ranking websites.


Blogs are created using the expired domains.  They can rank a higher rank without needing to do link building themselves.  They can create content that people will want to link to.  They can create relationships with bloggers as well.


•    Fake Social Media Profiles


The presence of social media can have a considerable impact on your SEO ranking. That's what your competitors are hoping.  They could create a fake account for you just to hurt your image by sending out spams and sending out malicious links.  They can use the accounts to share hoaxes or fake content.  This will cause your customers to lose their trust in your brand.


•    Spamming Negative Review


Similar to creating fake social media profiles, this strategy is used to hurt a brand's image.  Remember that brands flourish with positive reviews. That's the core of any business.  Positive reviews attract your target market and encourage them to engage with your business or brand.


You can imagine the damage that could be caused by fake accounts to your brand.  Search engines can actually detect when a website is in a bad spot or when people are unsatisfied with the brand.  Google can penalise your website by lowering your rank.


•    Building Bad Links to Your Website


Back then, getting as many backlinks as you can was a great way to improve and increase your SEO rank.  Nowadays, that's hard to do.  In fact, it is no longer that simple.  There are stuff about link building that can actually affect your website's rank.  These are the weaknesses in link building that can be used by your competitor to chip away at your rank.


How to Protect Yourself from Negative SEO


There are two methods of guarding your website against Black Hat SEO: tracking your backlinks regularly and using a disavow tool.


•    Track Your Backlinks


Your competitors may put a target to your website by directing spam backlinks to your website.  You need to know the backlinks pointing to your website, so you can figure out which ones are causing harm to your website's SEO rank.  This isn't easy, especially if you have thousands of backlinks.


Fortunately, there are backlink tracking tools that you can use at no cost.  These tools aren't perfect.  They have their own limitations, but they can be accurate.  If you aren't happy with the free tools, you can avail of the premium ones.  The good ones are definitely worth your money.


The best way to check for unnatural links is to check the sites yourself.  You can immediately see if the links are meant to manipulate search engine results.  Look out for foreign language websites, adult sites, and untrustworthy websites.


Some of the best back-linking tools include the following: Ahrefs Backlink Tool, Majestic SEO, Google Webmaster Tool, and Link Miner.


•    Use Google Disavow


Once you find unnatural links to your website, you can disavow them in order to prevent them from affecting your website's SEO rank.  Disavowing is the act of nullifying backlinks to prevent Google from considering it when assessing your site's rank.


You can use Google's Disavow Tool, which is one of the tools in Google's Webmaster Package.  While monitoring backlink activity, make sure to find and collect harmful backlinks that are responsible for dragging your SEO rank down.  Examples of these sites include gambling sites, adult sites, and other similar untrustworthy websites.  Make sure to check the content if the content has anything to do with your website.  If not, it should be in your disavow list.


Create a list of your disavow links.  Look for a disavow file generator and paste your links all in there.  It would create a text file, which you can save on your computer.  You can then go to your Google Disavow Tool and select the website affected by the negative SEO, and then click disavow links.


Click Disavow Link once more, and wait for a window to pop up.  You can then upload the text file generated by the Disavow File Generator, and click submit. That's it!  Google will then disavow all the links included in the file you uploaded.


August 29, 2019

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