Even if you’ve been playing by Google’s rules, keeping up with frequent algorithm changes, you might still find yourself to be a victim of negative SEO.
You have to look over the fence into your competitor’s backyard, as they might be the ones playing it dirty, setting up traps in order to make sure you fail. By dropping out of search engine’s good graces, your company is bound to hit the bottom, what has a negative effect on your rankings, visibility, visits, and, ultimately, conversions and revenue.
What many tend to forget is that once you hit the rock bottom, the only way you can go is – up. But how?
1. Use Google Search Console alerts
Google Search Console represents extremely valuable collection of tools which include information about search traffic, search appearance, technical status update, crawl data and other educational resources. With this in mind, it is evident why it found its place in almost every website owner’s, webmaster’s and SEO professional’s toolbox.
If you’re using Google Search Console as well, then you know you can leverage it to monitor the safety of your website. It helps you detect any kind of abuse, and to react quickly to any weird activity, turn on alerts. In order to do that, go to the GSC dashboard, choose settings and then go to Preferences. There you simply enable email notifications and you’ll get alerts directly to your inbox.
2. Secure the website from hackers and malware
If you’re one of a multitude of people who are using WordPress to power your business website, you can easily setup preventive measures of malware. We recommend installing the Google Authenticator Plugin and creating a 2-step verification password. This way, whenever you log in to your website you’ll have to add a code generated by Google Authenticator on your smartphone. Ensure it’s a strong password; still, it’s advisable to create backups of your databases and files regularly.
3. Monitor your backlinks
One of the top negative SEO practices includes manually adding low quality links and redirects to your website. For this reason, it is of utmost importance to monitor your links on a regular basis on order to be able to pick up any strange activities early.
However, note that it’s not just about paying attention to low-quality links; you are advised to protect your high-quality ones as well, as your competitors might be working towards removing them. That’s why you have to remember to tag your links and check their status regularly.
4. Use a disavow tool
Did you come across any spammy links in your backlink profile? Then find the time to contact all website owners and request to have your link removed. Normally, not everyone will be open for collaboration, but not to worry – Google’s got a tool for that. All you are required to do is prepare an appropriate document that meets their specifications and they will grant you the permission to use the tool.
5. Ensure your website content is unique
The lowest level of SEO scammers will copy the content from your website and distribute it across the World Wide Web. Be especially cautious when accepting articles from guest contributors, since many will attempt to send content they’ve already published on a different website, thus putting you at risk of penalization. Still, bear in mind that if you do find the article you’ve initially published on a different website, there’s a chance the editor used canonical URL – in that case, you’re safe, since it means they’ve spread the word by sharing it, not stealing. To find out whether your assets are unique, we advise using Copyscape. Also, if you see there’s a 1% match, you should not be alarmed, since content writers tend to use similar phrases; what should worry you is if it gets close to 20%.
6. Check your website speed
If you notice a sudden drop in your website speed, it might be a consequence of negative SEO. Scammers are known to send a number of request to your server to take it down. That is why you have to check your website speed occasionally; you can also take advantage of tools like Pingdom to receive alerts regarding the current speed of your website and the server status.
7. Monitor your mentions
At the top of everything, SEO spammers are known to create fake social media profiles in order to damage your brand reputation. In addition to that, they are known to pose as unhappy customers who are constantly complaining about your products or services, further tarnishing your image. That’s why from time to time, you need to check whether there are certain channels where your brand is actively being mentioned without your knowledge. If you do stumble upon someone who is posing as your brand ambassador, react immediately. Over the years, Mention proved to be extremely beneficial, providing SMB owners with live updates about their brand from the web and social media.
Negative SEO affects both small and the largest of websites. Many world-renewed brands have dropped in Google rankings and have blamed negative SEO for that. Statistically, negative SEO doesn’t happen that often, nevertheless, it’s crucial to keep some of the basics in mind to be ready if anything suspicious occurs.
So have you ever been the victim of similar attacks? Share your story with us in the comment section!
Author bio: Steven Clarke is a digital marketing specialist at TOP SEO Adelaide. In his spare time, he likes to write about his ideas and share them with the world. Steven is a regular contributor to several websites.