What is Negative SEO?
The malicious activities that an external entity (mainly competitors) executes to manipulate the online reputation and ranking of the competitor are known as Negative SEO.
While maintaining a website, it is crucial to maintain a continuous 360-degree watch to foster its growth and protect it from any malicious activity that can hurt its online ranking and reputation.
Search Engine Optimization is an organic practice that helps your website to have a broader online reach. On the other hand, we have negative SEO, the practices adopted by competitors to put your website’s reputation in jeopardy. Below are some strategies to make you aware of these practices and how to protect yourself from them.
Strategies of Black Hat SEO and how to safeguard yourself from them:
The competitors must be highly exasperated with you if they adopt this tactic. The tactic is both expensive and efficient. The hackers get unauthorized access to the site and perform malicious activities that can hurt the reputation of the site, indirectly hurting the business.
Below are the capable campaigns the hackers can run to attack your business:-
- Tampering with the sites’ SEO practices and hurting the site’s search engine rank and online reputation.
- Modifying website content by adding irrelevant keywords, adding malicious links, or deleting important content.
- Creating spammy pages on a competitor’s website filled with low-quality or irrelevant content. This can negatively impact the website’s overall quality and search engine rankings.
2. Generating Spammy Links:
Backlinks are the hyperlinks external websites add and link to your website, serving as a testament to its credibility and reliability. Backlinks indicate that the other websites trust you. Before adding the backlinks, make sure that they are from an authorized website. A regular check needs to be done for this, as backlinks from bad sources could harm the site’s ranking and could be the cause of a penalty.
Your competitors might adopt the same practice. It is so easy to add a backlink to your site. All your competitors need to do is copy your web page’s link and attach the link to any unauthorized websites. The presence of excessive low-quality backlinks can negatively impact the website’s ranking.
Search Engines want to deliver original and informative content to their readers. It’s always been stated to have authentic and relevant content for the readers. One negative practice involves copying the content of your website and pasting it into their own websites and calling your content duplicate.
Duplicacy is another tactic that can be employed in negative SEO campaigns. It involves creating duplicate content and spreading it across multiple websites, including the target competitor’s website. The intention behind duplicity is to confuse search engines and potentially trigger penalties for the target website due to the presence of duplicate content.
4. Fake Reviews:
Reviews exhibit the trustworthiness of businesses. Tried and tested products are often more reliable than new products. 49% of people rely on online reviews than personal recommendations.
Negative SEO practitioners can submit fake reviews with negative responses to your product and services. The act can turn this powerful weapon against you.
Inspecting the feedback over time is essential for monitoring the negative SEO against you.
Things you can do to maintain an excellent online reputation through reviews are:
- Encourage genuine and positive reviews.
- Respond professionally even to negative reviews.
- Build a strong online presence by delivering quality services.
- Maintain transparency in your business practices and provide accurate and detailed information about your products or services.
5. Overloading the server or Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack:
It is another act involved in negative SEO. The practice when an external entity sends a tremendous amount of traffic to a website with the intention of overloading its resource server so that the actual needy visitor cannot reach the website is known as Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack.
It affects the user experience and potentially decreases the ranking of the site.
How to protect oneself from Negative SEO:
Webmasters work tirelessly to build and maintain their websites. Competitors should not have the ability to undermine their hard work. In addition to focusing on organic SEO, webmasters need to allocate some attention to these practices as well.
1. Protection from Hacking:
Hackers cannot take the entire access to the site. You may still have access to your site through which you can make amends. In order to catch the hijacking, set up notifications to the search engine console and regularly run site audits to fix any technical issues.
2. Control over Spammy Backlinks:
- Continuous examine the backlinks connected to your website can help you maintain and protect it from the downfall of the ranking.
- In case you detect spammy links, search engines like Google provide the tools to allow you to disavow those links.
- Keep an eye on the anchor text used in the backlinks to your website. Ensure that the anchor text is different and does not overly focus on exact match keywords.
3. Monitoring and Reporting Content Duplicacy:
- Altering your content on a regular basis can improve your ranking, and it can be useful in protecting oneself from negative SEO.
- Report to Google for content duplicity.
- Contact the provider where the fake website is hosted and explain why it must be taken down.
4. A Continuous Eye on Fake Reviews:
Reviews showcase the credibility of businesses. It is the actual stage where your customers express their experience with your services. It can be used as a promotion. Fake reviews can easily be bought against competitors.
Here are the measures you can take to dodge this negative SEO act:
- Continuous monitoring of the reviews.
- Flag and monitor fake reviews. Most reviews platform has this mechanism to report the reviews that you find inappropriate.
- When encountering fake reviews, respond professionally and calmly. Address the concerns raised in the review and provide factual information to correct any false statements. This shows your commitment to customer satisfaction and can help mitigate the impact of fake reviews.
5. Overloading the Server:
To protect your website from negative SEO tactics involving server overloading, consider the following measures: DDoS protection:
- Implement a robust DDoS protection solution or service to help mitigate and block malicious traffic targeting your website. This can involve setting up firewalls, rate limiting, traffic analysis, or working with a trusted DDoS protection provider.
- Load testing: Regularly conduct load testing on your website to assess its performance and capacity. This allows you to identify any potential vulnerabilities and optimize your server resources to handle high-traffic loads.
- Monitoring and alerts: Utilize server monitoring tools to keep an eye on the performance and health of your website’s server. Configure alerts to notify you of any unusual spikes in traffic or suspicious activities that may indicate a DDoS attack.
- Scalability and redundancy: Ensure your server infrastructure is designed for scalability and redundancy. This means having the ability to handle increased traffic demands and having backup servers or cloud-based solutions in case of an attack.
- Working with hosting providers: Choose a reliable and reputable hosting provider that offers security measures against DDoS attacks. Consult with them to understand their security protocols and ensure they have measures in place to handle such attacks.
In the event of a DDoS attack, it’s crucial to act quickly.
Contact your hosting provider and inform them of the attack, as they may have additional measures to mitigate the impact. Implementing preventative measures and maintaining a secure and well-monitored server environment can help protect your website from negative SEO tactics involving server overloading.
What is the Difference between Black Hat SEO and Negative SEO?
Black Hat SEO is referred to the tactics that you yourself do in order to get the search engine’s ranking inorganically. On the other side, there are two ways to beat the competitors: Master your game or ruin the competitor’s strategy. Black Hat SEO and Negative SEO are these two unethical ways. Black Hat SEO concerns with the techniques that manipulate Search Engines. Negative SEO deals with actions to defame competitors’ sites. Negative SEO is hurting your competitor’s reputation while Black Hat SEO is hurting one’s own reputation because of greed.