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29 March 2016

10 Tips to Prevent a Website Against Negative SEO

10 Tips to Prevent a Website Against Negative SEO
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By Yugam Jaitly

Negative SEO

It is sure that you have hardly heard about Negative SEO, so let us explore more about it together. We will try to explain it as briefly as we can. It’s a technique used to lower a site’s rankings in search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing, and there are many methods to do so. The most popular way of improving a website’s ranking is via backlinks.

So does negative SEO really work?
Long story short: Yes, it really truly can.

Google has a lengthy statement regarding Negative SEO, but Moz succinctly summarised all those pointers and come up with a brief overview –

In all probability, bad links do not harm you as much as you may think because Google constantly works hard to ensure that other people cannot tank your website ranking via bad links. However, much like everything else, the internet giant accepts that even its filtering methods aren’t foolproof, which means that your competitors may get away with destroying your ranking.

So, what do you do? Here are some key elements for modern SEO techniques you need to keep in mind –

1) Your Own SEO Strategies can backfire on you

If you wish to hire SEO expert, you need to know that there are many out there who sell link building packages (the ones where you pay $100 and you get a whole bunch of directory listings). But what you need to know is that they keep using the same links to improve the rankings of other websites as well. This means that the older links i.e. your backlinks are automatically rejected by Google.

So that’s $100 gone down the drain, which is why you need to stay away from such packages.

Here are a few other points you need to keep in mind –

  • 20 good quality posts are better than 200 low-quality guest posts.
  • A majority of your anchor texts should use your website name
  • Don’t sell links on your website without using the “nofollow” attribute.

2) Be friendly with everybody

That’s because making enemies can cost you heavily. They can deploy various Negative SEO tactics to ensure your page doesn’t get a good ranking, and you don’t want that, do you? Disgruntled customers, angry competitors – be nice to everybody and do your best to not give others a reason to take revenge on you.

Of course, there are always people who spam just for the sake of it, and there’s no reasoning with such people. In such situations, you just need to have better defences against such Negative SEO attacks. Better yet, hire SEO consultants who can implement necessary elements of latest SEO to improve your page’s rank.

3) Secure your website

In today’s world, security is of primary importance because vulnerable websites are more prone to spam, malware, phishing or hack attacks. In all probability, your website is built on WordPress, so make sure you use the Google authenticator plugin for WordPress. This plugin generates a code which is sent to you on your smartphone, which you then use to log onto your WordPress website.

You need to have a strong password and you also have to make a habit of maintaining regular backups of important data.

4) Throw out Duplicate Content

One of the most important key elements for modern SEO techniques is to always maintain unique content. So if there’s even 1% of duplicate content on your website (or your content is copied by someone else) then there’s a big possibility that your website will be penalized and lose rankings.

Use Copyscape.com to find out about duplicate content. Their charges are extremely nominal and professionals all across the globe reply on it for its sheer accuracy. Here’s where you can clear your doubts regarding Copyscape. Of course, you can opt for free plagiarism tools but they’re nowhere close to how good their paid counterparts are.

5) Google’s disavow tool

To take care of Google’s disavow tool, you should hire SEO expert for better results. It tells the company not to consider poor-quality links when its spiders crawl across your website. First timers have to download a list of links to your site via the Google Search Console.

Then follow these steps –

  • Go to “Search Traffic”
  • Then go to “Links to Your Site”.
  • Make a new file that contains links you want to disavow
  • Next create a file containing only the links you want to disavow
  • Upload the file to Google.

For those intrigued, go through this start-to-finish guide to using Google’s Disavow Tool. It’s extremely helpful.

 6) Monitor Your Backlinks

Make use of free trial version services like Ahrefs or Google Search Console to get your work done, and always ensure you monitor your backlinks via a highly streamlined schedule. For those of you interested, here are 10 Smart SEO Tools to Monitor Backlinks

Also know that if you have 50 links or less, you can check them once a month manually. However, if the number exceeds 50, make use of automated tools that alert you when a link has been changed.

If you’re able to discover a nascent negative SEO campaign and defend against it, good for you! If you can’t, then it’s high time you consider the fact that you may have to appoint SEO experts to do your job for you.

7) Monitor Your Social Media Mentions

There’s no scarcity of people (mostly competitors) creating fake social media accounts in your brand’s name and using those accounts to propagate hatred or false information about your company. The best thing for you to do is to nip the problem in the bud, i.e. report such profiles as spam before they accumulating a sizeable fan following.

Obviously, since you cannot manually scour various social media channels to find out fake profiles in your name, use tools like Mention that help you find out who’s using your name and for what purposes.

8) Monitoring CTR of Keywords

At times, you might encounter a strange problem with your eCommerce website. There could be thousands of hits but those bounce off immediately. And it will affect the rankings. But, why does it happen? The problem occurs mainly due to one (or some) of your competitors programming a bot targeting your keywords.

The bot lands on your website and then bounces back creating a false Search Engine Results Page (SERP) bounce rate. Because of the problem and to prevent your eCommerce websites from such attacks, you should monitor the CTR of your keywords regularly.

9) Regular Checking SERP Rankings

Monitoring the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) ranking of your eCommerce website regularly is one of the most effective ways of protecting it from Negative SEO attacks. If you notice a sudden drop in the ranking, you could infer that as due to malicious attacks, and take corrective action.

10) Checking Google My Account Time-to-Time

It is needless to say that online reputation is vital for all businesses, and you cannot be an exception to that. But, you cannot escape getting negative reviews as spammers as well as people to create fake negative reviews. To protect your brand reputation, you should flag the fake reviews using Google My Business and fill out the report form.

Conclusion

The thing is, Google’s smart, but even this internet giant isn’t 100% foolproof – which means you need to take matter into your own hands to protect your website against any and every Negative SEO attack. You can’t control people building bad links to your site, but you can control how authoritative your site is.

And of course, those of you who aren’t aware of modern SEO techniques, it’s best approach to hire team of experts to save a lot of time, money and effort. Good luck!