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Negative SEO: Active Steps To Protect Your Website

Posted on the 15 October 2013 by Tom Jamieson @tomjamieson_

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Dozens of companies have done it – in ads all over billboards, television and various other mediums. They flash a blurred sample of what is obviously their competitor’s product and proclaim it inferior; or sneakily and indirectly send a message to viewers that a marketing angle their competitor has been using is lame and shouldn’t be bought. They do just about anything and everything to bring down their competition, without really doing much to simply improve their own.

Protect your site against negative SEO

Protect your site against negative SEO

The same thing happens on the web practically every day. Most may not be aware of it (and really, most of you should), but so many have brought down their own competitors online through negative SEO. Spammers, hackers, black hat SEOs and even other webmasters and site owners can apply negative SEO and bring down rankings and websites on a daily basis.

What are These Negative SEO Techniques?

There are plenty of things that can be done to bring down another website’s rankings. These include pointing plenty of low quality links to that website, injecting spam and malware, posting that website on spammy directories, creating negative reviews and blogs about the website, duplicating the website’s content, among many, many others. Negative SEO basically entails anything that can significantly and negatively affect the rankings and traffic of another website.

How Can I Protect against Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is a tricky thing to tackle, but there are certain preventive measures you can take to ensure the protection of your website:

1. Regularly Check Your Backlink Profile.

This is one of the best ways you can guard against negative SEO since the most common method of negative SEO involves low quality backlinks. There are various tools you can use to help you spot these types of links; tools that indicate spikes and strange variations in backlinks and such, but there are other telling signs of shady links as well. Links coming from the following for instance, should be questioned:

  • Adult websites, gambling websites, websites that promote the use of illicit drugs and the like
  • Websites that look shoddy and seem to have been made solely for spamming purposes
  • Websites that have an unusually large number of links within their body content
  • Foreign language websites

These are just a few examples, so you must be wary and intuitive at all times, and scrutinize sites that link back to you. Not all of them of course, are bad, but you need to be careful.

2. Set up Emails.

Google Webmaster tools has the option for email forwarding that lets you know if something’s wrong or fishy with your website on a weekly, daily or monthly basis. Bing’s Webmaster center also has the same option, and setting up both for your website will help you safeguard it from potential negative SEO acts.

3. Set up Alerts.

Set up Google to alert you whenever another site mentions your site or domain name, or uses your site or domain name along with other demeaning terms. You can also set up analytics to warn you of sudden or significant decreases in traffic and conversions.

4. Regularly Check Your Website.

Inspect your website thoroughly every now and then or better yet, get someone to do it for you. Have others check if you still rank well for specific terms, if your website is working right and performing well. Poor performance in any of these can be a sign of negative SEO.

5. Build up Your Site – the Right Way.

A poorly built site is practically begging to be hit by negative SEO. Sites with a very spammy backlink profile, manipulative backlinks and the like run a higher risk of getting significantly affected by negative SEO. So build up your site the right way. Make your backlink profile as clean as possible, and create a great user experience with beautiful, high quality website design that’s elegant, sensible and user-friendly. Don’t over optimize your site; aim for good solid SEO signals like good links, mentions and press. You could get the assistance of an established web design company and/or a reliable SEO company to help you with this and fortify your site against the crippling effects of negative SEO attacks.

Debra Wright is a writer and avid blogger who broke into the realm of online marketing before it was cool. Wright has contributed to various sites and covers a diverse array of topics, from website designing to online marketing. She writes because she wants to know. Follow Debra on twitter @debrawrites…

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