SEO Tips: How to Avoid Negative SEO
These days SEO is not only an effective tool but it’s a necessity for all the websites. Stats show that over 90% of all traffic comes from Google and other search engines. So it’s almost impossible to build a successful site without an effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
There are some cases where webmasters have to deal with negative SEO. Negative SEO is a concept that can destroy your search engine ranking.
Here are the basics of negative SEO and some effective tips to protect your website from it.
Negative SEO: Black-hat SEO and Common Practices
Negative SEO is any malicious attack taken against your website in an attempt to harm your rankings. Many people and marketers use the phrase “black hat SEO,” which is another way to describe aggressive and unethical ways to mess with the search engine algorithm.
As you can see, negative SEO is the opposite of traditional and useful optimization strategies. There are many common practices like:
Create many spammy links to your website.
Content scraping, the practice of stealing content from other websites, and redistributing it.
Use indecent keywords in links that are redirected to your website.
Hacking a site to make it dysfunctional and ruin its performance.
Creating lots of fake social accounts to spread negative comments about a given business and its website.
Tips to Avoid Negative SEO
There are many ways to protect your website from negative SEO attacks. Here are some useful tips you need to know.
1. Traffic spikes and drops — Use Analytics
If you’ve been analyzing common SEO principles, you know that websites can hardly experience massive traffic spikes or drops all of a sudden. This is the most frequent indicator of black hat SEO.
With Google Analytics, you can monitor website performance easily and discover suspicious activities almost instantly. You can identify spam and negative referrals made to harm your search engine ranking.
2. Conduct link audits
Every webmaster should regularly conduct link audits regardless of negative SEO. The tactic becomes even more important if you have to deal with malicious attacks.
The goal is to analyze the popularity of each page separately and react as soon as you notice a sudden non-organic change. Even if your site gets hacked, you can fix it quickly.
3. Monitor keyword CTR -Bounce Rate
A hacker or a competitor may target your keywords by giving them thousands of clicks just to abandon the page as soon as it loads. Such a tactic boosts your bounce rate and search engines take it as the sign of poor user experience.
You need to monitor the click-through-rate of your keywords to detect search terms and phrases with a high number of hits. That way, you can reply to malicious attempts and protect the reputation of your website.
4. Use Google Search Console
The platform can automate the process and watch for suspicious activities on your behalf. At the same time, you will be notified via email in case something strange starts happening.
5. Page Load Speed
These days people prefer fast websites with pages that load pretty fast. Search engines know that and they reward fast websites and lower the ranking of slower websites.
Negative SEO specialists can burden your server. In case you notice this kind of malicious activity, you need to talk with the hosting provider to pinpoint the source of the problem.
6. Track the social mentions
You need to pay attention to negative social mentions. There are many social reputation management platforms you can use. Find the one that suits you the most and use it to follow all brand-related comments on social networks.
7. Duplicate Content Method
Black-hat SEO strategists could copy your content — new posts mostly — and paste it on low-authority domains. Google will often index such content before crawling your website, so you might end up losing authority because of duplicate content.
A simple tool such as Copyscape can help you to overcome the obstacle. Use it to analyze your content and find websites that scraped it. After that, you can ask for content removal from these sites directly or from Google’s Copyright Removal pages.
8. Website Security
Some of the most common negative SEO techniques target websites with poor security protection. If you are not sure if your site is fully protected, you have to upgrade your security system.
Install effective antivirus software, and activate cybersecurity plugins if available.
9. Avoid black hat SEO
Do not use black hat SEO. Avoid keyword stuffing, do not purchase backlinks, and don’t use duplicate content.
It’s much better to be safe than sorry, so you need to keep an eye on website performance and identify threats before it’s too late.