A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Website from Negative SEO
It is the ultimate objective of every organization to get loads of traffic by conducting Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. The problem starts when a certain section of the audience is keen to do anything to make their website reach the top of the search engine rankings. This is where bad SEO practices come into the picture. There is a slight probability of your site’s ranking to get badly affected through negative tactics. One way to resolve this concern is by making sure that you are stopping these negative SEO techniques from scratch and protect your website from its negative influence.
In the forthcoming sections of this write-up, we have provided an inclusive guide that will help you to comprehend everything about negative SEO and the steps to protect your website from negative SEO. We promise after reading this content piece, you will be in a far better position to take advantage of SEO services in the USA from a professional SEO agency without getting into the temptation to try negative SEO to grow your Google rankings.
Without much ado, let’s get started.
Definition of Negative SEO
Negative SEO, also known as Black Hat SEO is highly unethical and looked down upon SEO technique that can create a damaging impact on your page rank. For example; Imagine you have made lots of efforts to put your website on the number one page of Google. One fine day, your competitor who does not like your website decides to lower your ranking on the search engine instead of doing the right way of increasing theirs. We call this negative SEO.
It is a quick-fix mechanism to get ahead of the competition without doing the hard work of link-building. This mechanism is even adopted by competitors to seek revenge. People can also get enjoyment by doing these misdeeds. There can be an “n” number of reasons for conducting this negative practice. It can even be possible that people try it on their own websites simply due to the fact that they do not have adequate knowledge or using obsolete SEO tricks like backlink stuffing, thinking it will have a positive impact on the rankings.
There are various ways to conduct negative SEO. It includes:
- Duplicating your content and spreading it to hundreds of other websites;
- Getting illegal access to other websites and deleting all of the alternative texts;
- Linking unrelated content to your website on a repeated basis;
People resort to these techniques in order to score a penalty on their targeted website. This way it is possible to get a negative effect on Google search results ranking page.
Now that you have the basic information pertaining to negative SEO it is time to look at the different types of negative SEO practiced by certain people.
Forms of Negative SEO
Apart from the different ways to conduct negative SEO that we mentioned in the earlier section, there are a few other types of negative SEO that you should be aware of:
Private Blog Network
Link building can be a difficult task. But, it can become easier when you have a group of blogs that can be used to link each other. The people who resort to this technique search for expired domains that are of high quality. These domains are the result of the hard work done by their previous owners to get genuine backlinks from high authority websites. Once these domains expire, the blogs are created using them which can help in getting high rankings without making much effort on link-building exercise which is commonly found to be the best way to create content that people want to link to, build relationships with the bloggers, and gain trust.
In such cases, your competitors will benefit without hurting your SEO. But, private blog networks (PBNs) can also be used to damage your website. This is done in the reverse order. So, instead of finding high-quality domains, they will search for low-quality ones and employ them to create content that links to your website.
Creating Fake Social Media Account Under your Brand Name and Spread Malicious Links
The role of social media on your SEO ranking cannot be undermined. This is where your competitors can gain an upper hand. They can easily create a fake social media account under your brand name to hurt your image by adding malicious links and spamming. Alternatively, they can use it to spread hoax stories or misleading pieces of information which can make your customers lose trust in your brand. Reason? They might think your organization is the one behind the act.
Negative Review Spamming
This is similar to creating fake social media profiles. The ultimate objective is to hurt your brand’s image. Positive reviews can have a great impact on creating the positive brand image of your organization ultimately resulting in attracting potential customers to engage with your brand.
On the other hand, a few fake personas which give tons of negative reviews can have a damaging impact on your sales. The bad news is, Google has a mechanism through which it finds out when a website or brand is in a bad spot when it comes to trust. If it finds out that people are not satisfied with a brand, it may take it as a justification to lower your SEO rankings.
Building Bad Links to Your Website
Earlier, it was common to find people trying to get as many backlinks as possible to increase their SEO ranking. But, today the process has become a bit intricate. There are various things connected with link-building that can create a disadvantage when it comes to ranking your website. This is where your competitors can come in and have a negative say on your site’s SEO. Let us look at them.
Creating Unrelated External Links
Google has its own mechanism to ascertain whether an external link is manipulative or not. In case, your competitor creates a blog niche that is untrustworthy like gambling or adult websites they can write an article and insert a hyperlink to your website.
Using Precisely the same Keywords as the Anchor Text
This practice is not only conducted by competitors but you might have also done this in the hope of getting a higher ranking. But, it can also harm your website ranking. How? Let’s find out with the help of an example. Imagine, you are trying to reach the top ranking position on Google for the keyword “baby elephant plush”. You do it in such a way that whenever someone searches with these keywords your webpage is displayed on the top. On top of this, you are also trying to attract other blog owners to link to your website by employing the anchor text “baby elephant plush.”
The problem is, if people naturally link to your website, in all probability, it will not be for the same exact phrase every time. This might be considered as a negative tactic of link-building by Google. As a result, your website ranking will decline.
Such negative SEO techniques are employed on a regular basis. This very reason makes it imperative to protect yourself from negative SEO.
2 Definitive Ways to Protect Yourself from Negative SEO
Now, that you are aware of how dangerous negative SEO can be, it is time to look at the different ways to safeguard your website from it.
It has been found that there are primarily two effective methods of protecting your website against negative SEO:
- Tracking Your Backlinks
- Employing a Disavow tool
Let’s look at each of these in detail.
Tracking Your Backlinks
It has already been discussed by us that your competitors have an edge over you by targeting your website and spamming your backlinks. This makes it very critical to stopping them. In order to achieve this, you need to be alert about each and every backlink that is pointed to your website. This is one of the best ways to ensure that any negative harm to your website’s SEO ranking can be averted. It is an extremely tough thing to achieve especially when there are thousands of backlinks on your website.
The amazing news is, there are lots of backlink tracking tools that can help you get this information without spending a single penny. There might be certain limitations in them but their precision cannot be questioned. In case, you are not satisfied with the backlinking tools’ free features, you can even avail premium tools that are worth paying for.
The best way to ascertain unnatural linking is by screening the website yourself. Unnatural links are nothing but backlinks that influence the search engine system through artificial changing of website ranking.
Let’s now divert our attention to the best backlink tracking tools that you can use to successfully achieve your objective.
Ashrefs provides several services that can assist you to research keywords and get ahead of the competition when it comes to SEO. Apart from keyword research, it consists of several other tools like rank tracking, keyword generator, content research, web monitoring, etc.
It has one of the best backtracking tools across the globe which provides a comprehensive collection of relevant information like anchor texts, domain rating of the backlink, and the amount of traffic directed to your website from each backlink.
It is free to employ Ahrefs backlink tracking tool but, for the first 100 backlinks only. In case, you want to check the rest, purchase from two paid packages – Lite ($99/month) or Standard ($179/month). There is also a 7-day trial program that can be availed at $7.
If you have not more than 100 backlinks and do not plan to use all the additional features that come with the paid packages there is no need to opt for a premium package.
This ingenious tool can be quite handy in terms of tracking your backlinks. The reason being, it has the largest index database across the globe. It is one of the best ways to get a comprehensively arranged backlink information in a user-friendly interface. Just like Ahrefs, you can employ Majestic SEO to take a peek at your competitor’s backlinks. You can track metrics, including broken link building, citation and trust flow, etc. To utilize the backlink tracking feature, there are three options available: Lite version at $49 on a monthly basis, Pro version at $99 on a monthly basis, and Full API version at $399 on a monthly basis.
In case, you are facing a financial crunch, the best resort is to try the Google Search Console. This free tool can assist you in monitoring everything. Be it your website’s performance or ranking.
It has a simple navigation. Several pages come with a green explanation pop-up on the bottom-right corner which makes it understandable to even the most inexperienced people.
The loophole is, every piece of information is distinct. For example, you can see a list of top linking websites and top linking texts. But, it becomes difficult to gauge which website employs which anchor.
On top of this, you also need to undergo a verification process prior to commencing the assessment through this tool. The result? It is not possible for you to employ this tool to scrutinize the websites that are not your property.
This is yet another free backlink tracking tool that gives you the ability to monitor the backlinks – even those that you don’t own. LinkMiner has a wide array of alternatives to show or hide certain pieces of information. In case, you want to check the backlinks from specific sources like forums, blogs, and Q & A websites, it is possible to do that with the help of filtering options using a few simple clicks.
It is possible to get related information pertaining to Alexa rank, anchor texts, number of Facebook shares, link strength, citation flow, and the trust flow. It is the best free tool that imparts freedom and flexibility during use.
Employing a Disavow tool
If you have ever been a victim of negative SEO, it is possible to see unnatural linking during the backlink monitoring process. One way to stop them from having a disastrous effect on your page ranking is by disavowing them.
Let’s try to understand the meaning of the term disavowing. It is an act of invalidating a specific backlink so that Google does not consider it as a determinant factor while scrutinizing the ranking of your page.
In order to do this, you need to employ the Google disavow tool. The amazing thing is, it is part of Google’s Webmaster Tool package and is similar to the backlink checker we have already discussed earlier.
Follow the steps given below to disavow one or more backlinks.
- While scrutinizing backlink activity, ascertain and collect all the untrustworthy backlinks that you perceive to have an impact on negative SEO rankings. This includes gambling, adult sites, etc. Scrutinize them on a manual basis and check whether their content is related to your website. If it is not, include them in the list.
- Prepare a disavow text file. It should consist of a list of backlinks gathered. The next step is using a disavow file to generate and paste all the links there. The file format needs to be in .txt. Save the file in the local directory.
- Open the Google Disavow Tool. Opt for a property (the site that is affected by the negative backlinks or the URL of the page). Then select Disavow Links.
- Select Disavow Links once again. You will see a window pop up which will prompt you to upload a text file. Click Choose File and opt for the disavow text file created earlier. Next, click Submit.
- This is the best way to ensure that all the links and domains included in the text are disavowed by Google.
The Finishing Line
In this write-up, we have provided a piece of all-inclusive information pertaining to negative SEO. It is about time that you ensure securing your website from these negative tactics. The best way to ensure that is by availing the services from a professional SEO company and undertaking their white-hat SEO Services. Also, take care to follow all the tips mentioned in this write-up to get the best ranking results of your website. This way you will get the best SEO results for your website and generate huge traffic to make your online business an instant hit.
Harshal Shah is CEO at Elsner Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Elsner is a leading WordPress development company in the USA. Get WP customization, WP design, WordPress development & migration service at the best price.