Beware "Negative SEO"!

The internet is awash with online companies all competing for high Google rankings and SEO content writers have never been in so much demand. But the marketplace is so crowded that tried and tested strategies are no longer as effective as they once were and black hat SEO is becoming harder and harder to execute. This environment has spawned a new monster; “negative SEO”.

What is Negative SEO?

“Negative SEO” is the practice of employing unethical techniques to sabotage competitors’ rankings in search engines. Strategies include:

· website hacking

· multiple spammy links to your website

· content plagiarism and distribution across the net

· pointing links to your site using keywords like; poker online, Viagra etc

· setting up fake social accounts and trashing your reputation online

· removing your best site backlinks

Negative SEO is real and many websites have already had to deal with the problem. Just look at sites like Fiverr and search for “negative SEO” and you’ll find over 15,000 people who are only too willing to do this work for just $5.

Preventative measures

Google Webmaster Tools Email Alerts

Google will send you email alerts when; you have server connectivity problems, you receive a manual penalty from Google, your pages are not indexed or your website is being attacked by malware.

Backlinks profile

Keeping track of your backlinks is vital to prevent spammers from impacting on your site. To guard against bad links to your site it’s vital to know when they are created or when redirections are set up. There are several tools available which enable you to keep track of backlinks and it’s really worth setting one up to protect your site.

Protecting your best backlinks

Spammers try to remove your best backlinks by contacting the website owner of the link using your name. They then request that the backlink is removed.

There are two ways of preventing this:

Firstly, when you email webmasters, always use the email address from your domain. This proves that you work for the website and are not an imposter. You also need to keep track of your best backlinks by using a suitable software tool

Secure your website

It goes without saying that website security should be paramount. Set up a strong, two-step password for editing purposes using numbers and special characters. Make backups of your database and files regularly and discuss what antivirus tools you can install with your hosting provider.

Duplicate content

A popular spamming technique is to duplicate content and then copy it all over the web. If the majority of your site content is duplicated you will be penalised and lose rankings. The easiest way to check if your site has been plagiarised is by using Copyscape. Just add the body of the article you want to check and the software will tell you if it’s being published elsewhere.

Monitor social media

If you discover that spammers are using social media to give your company bad press, you can report their profiles as spam and have them removed before they do too much damage. A tool like Mention.net will alert you whenever someone mentions your brand name on any social media or website.

Website speed

If your website’s loading time suddenly goes through the roof, it could be because someone is maliciously overloading your server with thousands of requests per second. If you think your site is being attacked, contact your provider immediately for assistance.

In the rankings wars it seems that some are prepared to play dirty. Keep one step ahead of the bad guys and stay safe out there in cyberspace.



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