Wednesday 17 October 2012

Negative SEO: What Startups Should Know About It

Negative SEO
As promised, here is this week's second of the three articles on SEO: Negative SEO is a strategy used by a competitor to decrease the search engine ranking of a rival site. Some examples are security breaches that cause your site to appear spammy, directing bad links at you in an effort to make it look like you're purchasing links, and making spammy comments on other websites with links back to you. These are just some of the black hat SEO practices that are frowned upon, yet are still being done.

The following are some important things that you should know about negative SEO in order to combat it.

Know the Signs

Your competitors might be trying to wreak havoc on your site by targeting you with negative SEO. This can be easily done in a matter of weeks, after which you may find you have a de-indexed site if they were successful. Tools such as Google Webmaster Tools enable you to monitor if you have negative SEO activities by checking your inbound links to see if you have an increase of spammy looking sites pointing at you. Receiving a huge volume of traffic from low quality sites over a short period of time is a sign of negative SEO activity.

If your organic search traffic decreases, your website might have been de-indexed. If the total amount of traffic going to your website drops, it can also mean negative SEO activity. Checking when the links were generated should give an idea as to whether or not there has been any negative SEO activity. If these are unusual and recently dated, then you might be the victim of an attack. Negative SEO attacks also normally have a noticeable pattern to them.

Protecting Your Site from Negative SEO

It is best to have preventive measures implemented to counter any negative SEO attacks. Make sure that your link profile has a professional look to it. Since Google checks your traffic pattern and history, you will have no problem if your site originally has high-quality links. It will not be easy to damage your site with a short-term attack plan. New sites are more prone to being attacked because most of them initially have low-quality links. Although negative SEO is still possible, implementing good SEO can deter these attacks.

Think of it like this: If you are starting up a marketing business, you need to create a website. Since it's new though, no one knows about it, and one great way of getting people to know about your site is getting other websites to link to you in order to not only get in front of their audiences, but to also bump up your search rankings. If one of your competitors sees that you're new and they want to sabotage you, they can undertake a negative SEO campaign to potentially ground you before you even take off because your site does not have a high quality track record for search engines to look back on and determine that it is not in fact you building the low quality links.

Google's Position on Negative SEO

Until the recent algorithm updates, it was supposedly not possible to actually harm another website with negative SEO. Unfortunately, Google decided that they will now penalize sites that appear to be building low quality links. This is a change from the past, when they simply discounted the value of the links. What this means is that, in the past, building low quality links was simply a waste of time and money, and now, it's more than that. It's a tactic that hurts your website if you decide to build low quality links pointing at you, and it's a tactic that hurts your competitors if you decide to point low quality links at them.

Given this change, what do you think people in highly competitor industries might be doing already?

About The Author: Eric Pratum manages Inbound and Agile - a marketing, leadership, and growth website that specializes in inbound marketing, and exponential acquisition.

Did you find this article helpful? Have you been the victim of negative SEO? Please let Eric and myself know by leaving us your valued comments below.

Would you like to guest post on the blog? Please use the Contact tab above to get in touch if you write business-related articles or articles on the topics of Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Marketing/Optimisation (SMO), Blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Other SEO articles published this week:
How To Hire A Good SEO Company

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Until the third and final article on SEO on Friday, enjoy the rest of the week!

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  1. marketing strategy18 October 2012 at 11:41

    nice post .. learned alot. I will apply this in SEO

  2. Great article. We need to know about all the things in a business, we should be very safe from this kind of attacks. Thank you for sharing this information.


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