Tips To Prevent Negative SEO On Your Website
SEO is a very competitive field, and in some cases many professionals go too far.
Is your site, all of a sudden having long loading time? Is your site getting guests from a wide range of strange referrers? It is safe to say that you are getting huge amounts of bad online reviews? Has your site dropped a few spots in the SERP rankings?
If so, you might be a victim of negative SEO.
Negative SEO means utilizing black-hat SEO strategies to disrupt sites and harmfully affect their keyword rankings. In case you’re new to SEO, at that point you may likewise be new to the expression “dark hat SEO.” This term includes forceful strategies intended to trick Google and other search engines.
Shockingly, it’s very simple to make different sites look users of black hat SEO – and put them decisively in Google’s line of sight.
How real is the Danger?
Don’t imagine it any other way – negative SEO can wreck weeks, months and years of hard-earned search rankings. It’s a serious threat that must be considered important. Albeit black hat SEO strategies are progressively harder to execute nowadays – and despite the fact that these strategies are broadly evaded all through the world of SEO – there will dependably be advanced advertisers who’ll use these techniques.
That said, the chances of suffering a negative SEO attack are small.
If your site is encountering performance oddities, there’s most likely another clarification. All things considered, you ought to always take precautionary measures to shield yourself from negative SEO, and you ought to dependably consider important the indications of a continuous assault. Here, we’ll audit some critical points that can help your site against negative SEO.
- Use Google Analytics to Watch for Traffic Spikes
Spikes in website traffic might be caused by an online sale, a catchy social media campaign or a number of other welcome things. But a large, unexpected surge of visitors is a classic warning sign of negative SEO — and traffic spikes might be the most easily noticeable red flags.
One negative SEO tactic is to spam blogs, forums and comment sections with low-quality links to a targeted website. The results can be damaging because Google will crawl these links and potentially penalize the targeted site for its sudden spammy link profile.
Here’s the good news: Google Analytics makes it easy to track visitors. Don’t just look at your overall daily visits; pay attention to how much traffic you get from referrals, SEO, paid advertising, email, and all the other channels you’re using. Look for changes that can’t be explained by your ongoing marketing.
If you do notice unusual traffic, then run a Referrals report and see exactly where your visitors are coming from to determine if you’re a victim of comment spam.
- Also Look for Traffic Slumps
If you notice a sudden drop in traffic rather than a surge in traffic, then you need to dig into Google Analytics to find the cause.
First, check your SEO traffic trends. Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels and then click on Organic Search in the table. Change the date range to show the previous 6-12 months to get a bird’s eye view of your SEO traffic trends. Again, if you see a sudden drop, then you have a problem.
Next, check your rankings using a tool like RankRanger. Various factors cause traffic and rankings to fluctuate, but a sizable fall in the search rankings should be cause for concern. Follow the steps below to keep digging in and determine the root cause.
- Routinely Search for Duplicate Content
Quality content is a hallmark of good SEO.
Websites that have unique, relevant and substantial content tend to rank better than sites that don’t. On the flipside, Google frowns upon websites with thin or duplicate content.
That’s why another negative SEO tactic is to “scrape” content from websites and copy it onto scores of junk domains. This can be especially damaging with newer content. If Google indexes the content on junk domains before indexing the originating website, then the originating website loses the SEO value.
This one is easy to detect. Use a tool like Copyscape to make sure your content only exists on your website. If you find your content on someone else’s site, email the site’s webmaster and request that it be immediately removed. You can also fill out Google’s Copyright Removal form and effectively lay claim to your content property.
- Audit Your Site Links
Regularly reviewing your link profile can also stop negative SEO in its tracks. It’s normal for a link profile to grow over time as people learn about your business. However, link profiles normally grow at a somewhat steady pace. For there to be a sudden jump in your backlink volume is cause for alarm.
- Watch Your Online Reviews
Few things drive away customers like a flurry of bad online reviews. And with reviews and ratings often getting above-the-fold real estate on Google, they’ve also become a target of negative SEO tactics.
Was your business bombarded with a string of terrible reviews on Yelp, Google My Business or some other directory site? If so, you might be the target of a competing business (or an extremely disgruntled customer). Google My Business and other review sites let you flag reviews that you think are fraudulent. Don’t hesitate to use this feature if you’ve been targeted by fake reviews.
- Don’t Ignore Site Performance
Is your website running slower than usual? Is it frequently crashing or getting stuck? And does your website seem to lag no matter where you are or how you’re viewing it?
If this is the case — and if your website’s performance is really, really bad — then that could be the result of an attack on your website’s server. Hackers sometimes launch forceful crawling and DDoS attacks to effectively render websites unusable, resulting in high bounce rates and frustrated customers.
Tech-savvy marketers can sometimes address website performance issues, but your best bet is to contact your webmaster or hosting provider. Your host provider can likely offer a fix without any additional work on your part.
SEO is a tireless industry, and sometimes the competition gets a little too heated. For that reason, you must always be vigilant against negative SEO.
Black hat tactics aren’t as effective nowadays at lifting websites in the rankings, but they’re more efficient than ever when sabotage is the goal. The damage from negative SEO can be greatly mitigated by detecting attacks early and taking corrective actions.
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