Focusing on the Negative
Negative SEO is like negative campaigning in politics. Instead of focusing on your site and trying to improve your own SEO, you devote your efforts to damaging the ranking of another site. Just like attack ads, a negative SEO attack is a frowned upon practice and as clear an example of Black Hat SEO as you can find.
Who Uses Negative SEO Attacks?
Negative SEO is not, at least as far as we have experienced, widely practiced. The majority of companies and agencies out there are trying to improve their own rankings, not damage their competition’s. But sometimes SEO attacks happen. Usually, they are the result of fierce competition in larger businesses where a small change could have a large effect, or in smaller businesses, the result of some kind of personal grudge or problem.
How Do You Know if You’ve Been Attacked?
There are a number of common tactics used by Black Hat SEO’s that can indicate your site is being targeted. So, here’s how to protect yourself:
- Check Your Link Profile: Look at the traffic that comes to your site from Links. If you notice a big increase or decrease that isn’t concurrent with the amount of effort you’ve been putting into link building, something fishy could be going on. If you have a number of new links, check the sources and make sure they are relevant. If they’re not you need to disavow them quickly.
If you see a sudden drop in links there is a chance your site may have been hacked. Check the original content that was receiving links to make sure it hasn’t been altered or modified to send traffic elsewhere.
- Check your loading times: Site speed is very important, so if you notice your site load times have increased you may have been subjected to some kind of attack. Carry out your usual checks into why your site could be moving slowly, but if you can’t find an answer you maybe have been subjected to ‘forceful crawling’. This basically means your site is being subjected to artificial traffic, which slows it down. To fix this you need to contact your web host and they will try and work out where all this extra traffic is coming from.
- Check nobodies copying your content: One way of getting penalized by search engines is to have duplicate content on your website. Obviously, this means that you shouldn’t copy other websites content. But your content could also be being coped so, if you notice an SEO drop, check that your content isn’t being scraped and hosted on another site.
- Watch out for fake reviews: Keeping on top of your Google My Business page is probably something you already do. But, if you don’t, you should check it for fake reviews. Negative reviews will affect your SEO ranking with Google, so make sure that all of your negative reviews are legitimate and that you haven’t been the victim of some sort of attack. Generally, you will know if a negative review is legitimate or not. If you don’t think it is, you can report the review to Google and they may remove it for you.
Have You Been Attacked?
As we mentioned earlier, SEO attacks are not common. But that doesn’t mean they never happen. If you notice a sudden drop in your SEO ranking it’s much more likely to be due to some changes in Google’s algorithm than the guy in the office down the street hating you. However, if you can’t find a simple explanation then you may have been subject to an attack.
If you think you have, contact Google as soon as possible to let them know and start fixing the problems.
How can we help?
What do your links and content say about your site’s SEO? What does your data say in Search Console?
We are Spectrum Group Online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.