Websites have become essential to running a modern business. The world has moved on from the days when you would enjoy unparalleled success running a business while ignoring the Internet. Today, websites act as marketing platforms.
They are the windows that assure clients that you are legit and worth transacting with. What’s more, Google relies on websites for ranking. Sites that respect the principles of SEO enjoy positive ranking.
However, many websites try to use other practices to gain undue advantage. Such practice includes negative SEO. For this reason, it’s essential to learn how to protect your website from the effects of negative or black hat SEO.
What is Negative SEO?
The best way to tackle a problem is to understand it in detail first. In this regard, negative SEO is the collection of black hat SEO practices that your competitor employs against you. The intention is often to get Google to penalize you.
Those who practice it wish to see you losing your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). The practitioners will not deface your website. Neither will they attempt to take it down. They are not that dramatic, but that doesn’t make their work any less harmful.
What they hope to achieve, though, is just as potent against your ecommerce endeavors as hacking and all other similar attacks. There are different types of negative SEO. Negative SEO can be either offsite or onsite. Mostly, these include the following:
- Link farms
- Scrapping of content
- Forceful crawling
- Modification and stealing of content
- Getting your website de-indexed
- Hacking the site
Tips for Preventing Negative SEO
The good news is you are not helpless. You can apply a ton of solutions to increase your chances of successfully preventing negative SEO on your business site. With the right measures, you would avoid some of the attacks that have destroyed other web-based businesses.
As stated above, the worst effect of negative SEO is the drop in ranking. No longer would your clients be able to find you fast. Keywords that helped to rank you high in the past would no longer be effective. A drop in ranking makes it hard for clients to find you.
More than that, it then interferes with your sales, revenues, and profit. To prevent it, you must:
1) Audit Your Links Routinely
Negative SEO lays the perfect traps for your links. For this reason, it’s incumbent upon you to examine them regularly. A thorough inspection will identify anything wrong with the links. Use Google’s Disavow Links Tool to rectify any problem you notice with your links.
2) Improve the Website’s Speed
Has your website started losing speed for unclear reasons? That could be the work of negative SEO. Find and use the best crawling software to check for the problem. It could identify forceful crawling, which is notorious for making servers load heavy could be the culprit.
3) Discover Content Scrappers
Content scraping is a form of negative SEO. Here, the negative SEO pros lift content from your site. Afterwards, they claim it is theirs. You don’t need to worry, though. Copyscape should help you to fend off this problem. Next, talk to your webmaster and report the issue to Google.
4) Invest in SSL Certificate
You should never hesitate to invest in a proper SSL certificate. Google already announced that a website with HTTPS will have a chance of higher ranking. So, invest in SSL certificate to make your site more impregnable. If you have multiple domains and its unlimited subdomains then, buy multi-domain wildcard SSL to secure multiple domains and its unlimited sub-domains using single certificate.
5) Improve the Site’s Security
You need more than the SSL, though. The site can do with improved security, as well. For a start, update your security software. Ensure that your CMS software is fully equipped with powerful and trusted encryption too.
6) Reevaluate Your SEO Strategies
At times, your strategy might be affecting your SERP rankings unknowingly. More than that, you must watch out for the following innocent mistakes:
- Linking to sites that Google has already penalized
- Faulty web designs
- Avoid building backlinks using money keywords
- terrible user experience
7) Search for Malicious Codes: Practitioners of negative SEO are quite effective at filling their competitors’ websites with malicious codes. For this reason, it is essential to check the site for such codes. You can avoid this problem by:
- Updating WordPress plugins
- Updating WordPress
- Using Secure Hosting
8)Avoid Fake Social Media Accounts: Are you aware of all social media accounts under your brand’s name? If not, take time to search them out. Spammers love using these accounts to lower your site’s ranking. Report all the accounts that you find to get them removed. That way, they will no longer hurt your ranking.
9) Monitor Site Ranking
When is the last time you checked your site ranking? You should do this frequently. Include this task in your weekly, fortnightly, or monthly list of things to do. The site should never have to experience a continuous unexplained drop in ranking for its primary keywords.
10) Watch out for CTR
Click-through-rate offers you a trove of information. You should observe it. Through it, you should know the number of visitors to your site or specific ads. Spammers attack it to boost the bounce rate. Watching it closely helps you to reduce or avoid bounce rates altogether.
11) Watch out for Negative Reviews
Negative reviews are part of the group of attacks that form negative SEO. A few negative reviews are healthy. However, this becomes a problem when the number increases to an unhealthy state. Their results include a negative image of your brand.
Remember, negative SEO is not a casual matter. It is an attack on your website. Moreover, it’s a blatant declaration of war. Therefore, put the above measures in place to defend yourself against unscrupulous people who want your site’s ranking to suffer irreparable damages.