SEO can be great for getting traffic to your website and increasing your sales. It is a difficult long term game, but one that can provide great value for your business.
Setting up a good SEO strategy, implementing it and measuring results takes time and money. Having this in mind, it is pretty disturbing to hear that your competitors could at any time use negative SEO on your site, which could potentially tank your website’s rankings overnight.
Negative SEO refers to techniques used by someone to hurt your site’s SEO. While you shouldn’t be too worried about negative SEO if you are just running a small business or blog, if you are active in a very competitive online market, you want to look out for signs that your site has been a victim of negative SEO. In this article we discuss four negative SEO techniques that can be used against websites and ways to minimize the chances of having your SEO impacted by them.
A competitor can buy thousands of spammy links pointing to your website to negatively affect your link profile. A spammy backlink profile can get your website penalized by Google, which would seriously impact your search rankings.
Make sure that you regularly check your backlink profile, for example using Google Analytics. If you suddenly see a lot of new backlinks showing up that look like they’re coming from spammy domains you should try to remove these. Use Google’s Disavow tool, and report the negative SEO to Google. If you’ve already been hit with a penalization, file a reconsideration request with details on the spammy links.
Duplicating Content Before It’s Indexed
This technique refers to the copying of any new content on your website before it is indexed by search engines and putting it on a different website. This way your content can be viewed as duplicate content if it was indexed later.
This type of negative SEO can be avoided by regularly updating your sitemap and resubmitting it to Google when content is added to your site.
Search for sentences from your articles within quotes in Google to find any websites that have duplicated your content. You can then report this with Google.
Using Crawlers to Affect Your Website’s Speed
Crawlers can be used to constantly crawl your website, which can cause your website to become very slow to load and navigate. Website speed has an impact on your SEO as well as bounce and conversion rates. There are ways to prevent bad crawlers from accessing your site, though this can be pretty difficult depending on how well the malicious crawlers were developed.
Copyright Removal Requests
Someone can email the owners of websites that have backlinks to your site to remove these backlinks, stating that they are seen as a copyright infringement. Losing high quality backlinks can hurt your SEO. The only thing you can do to prevent someone from doing this is to build relationships with websites that link to you. Consider sending a thank you email when (quality) websites link to you. You can keep up with new backlinks using the Google Analytics backlink URLs report.
Zane Schwarzlose is the SEO Director at Fahrenheit Marketing, an Austin Web design company. Zane thinks that Negative SEO is totally possible.