Guard Against Negative SEO
There are two main elements of SEO: content and links. In Google parlance, Penguin rewards quality pages and posts while targeting spammy links. Sadly we’re seeing an uptrend on negative SEO — the practice of other sites using malicious tactics like backlink spamming to damage organic rankings. In this post we’ll explore what’s involved in reviewing your link profile.
Link Profile Analysis
If you haven’t completed a full-blown link analysis, now is the time. You first need to understand who is linking to your website and if those links are hurting or helping. This process will help you to identify if there have been any spammy links created without your knowledge. As the Search Engine Journal recently posted… “yes, people are doing this. This is real, folks.”
We use several tools to aggregate a link profile, including gathering information via:
- Google Search Console
- Link Research Tool’s dTox
- Moz’s Open Site Explorer
- Majestic SEO
Once you’ve pulled together all of the components of your link profile — including referring domains — the next step is to figure what links are positive (helping your SEO profile) and which ones may be hurting you. These are the ones to pay particular attention, as this is where negative SEO can lurk. Unscrupulous businesses and SEO firms may be adding poor quality backlinks to your link profile while you’re not looking.
Sort through every link manually and classify them individually. We typically separate links into three categories: high risk, medium risk and good. The final step in cleaning up your link profile is to use the disavow tool in Webmaster Tools to neutralize the bad links.
Defend Your Link Profile
Now that you have a healthy link profile, it needs to stay clean. We recommend that you add monitoring to your Analytics to-do list. If you have a particularly dirty profile, we suggest reviewing weekly. Once the process becomes more routine, monthly monitoring should be sufficient. Here are ways to make monitoring easier:
- Set up Google Webmaster Alerts — email notifications will keep you informed of any major issues on your website.
- Monitor links with a professional-grade tool (we use MajesticSEO)
- Disavow poor quality or suspicious links — doing so will keep your link profile clean
- Speak up – if you think your website is a victim of negative SEO, reach out to the perpetrator. If your email message/phone call goes unheeded, use other media to get attention.
- Vow to use only White Hat SEO techniques. That includes creating stellar content that demonstrates credibility and authority.
What does your website’s link profile say about your business?
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