The Impact of Negative SEO on Search Engine Optimization
Being concerned with SEO means also being concerned with negative SEO. This is more than merely the lack of good results – it’s the deliberate creation of bad results through bad behaviour. Essentially, it is website sabotage, and it’s a real threat to businesses who rely on their online presence and reputation. Of course, not everyone’s website is a target. Most small businesses never have to deal with this type of threat, because no one would have cause to sabotage them, but it is something every website should be prepared for.
What does negative SEO look like
Negative SEO can take a number of forms. It can be someone using real or fake social media accounts to give your brand a bad reputation through negative comments or poor customer reviews. It might also be a little more stealthy – like deleting your content, or copying your content and posting it to multiple other sites, so your original content is no longer unique, thereby knocking it down on the search engine results pages (SERPs). It might involve posting spam to your account, or even impersonating you in order to have your best backlinks deleted. Or, they might just overload your site with traffic so that it slows down, or shuts down entirely. It can get pretty nasty and you need to be prepared because it’s easier to prevent it in the first place than it is to clean up its mess.
What can I do to prevent negative SEO
The best thing you can do is be aware. Constantly. Monitor your website on a regular basis. Know how long it takes your pages to load. Know where your best backlinks are located. There are tools and software you can employ to keep an eye on things. You can have alerts sent to you if you are penalized by the search engines, or if things go awry on your site. If anything goes wrong, you’ll be able to report it, fast.
How can I protect myself against negative SEO
Be proactive. Protect your backlinks, or places where your site receives inbound traffic from any other websites, by communicating with your webmaster through one specific email account. Don’t allow anyone to tamper with your backlinks by pretending to be you and asking your webmaster to delete your content. Make sure your webmaster knows to only respond to requests from your account. You can regularly perform searches for your original content on search engines, ensuring that your site is all that pops up with your words. Another thing you can do is monitor social media by being aware of all mentions of your brand’s name. If a spam account goes up, pretending to be you, you need to know about it as soon as possible, and report it to the proper source. If people are talking about your brand, you should be able to respond to it promptly, putting out any small fires before they become big ones.
Protecting against SEO is like creating good SEO: it requires frequent, consistent, diligent effort. Just like creating exciting original content takes attention to detail and persistent work, negative SEO prevention takes a significant amount of care. But in the event that it happens to you, you’ll be glad you were prepared.