Google has won. It has made life more difficult for SEO marketers, especially in terms of gunning for that coveted first page rank. Aside from the seemingly endless releases of new algorithms, Google has also made quality content as king.
As marketers scrimmage against the pressures of search marketing, they resort to strategy modifications and re-assessment of goals. Others, however, have found “other” ways to keep themselves in the game. These ways, although generally frowned upon by the online society, are becoming prevalent.
This is called “negative SEO”. What is it exactly, and how can you protect yourself from it?
Below is everything you need to know, from a post at KissMetrics.com:
What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO refers to the practice of using black hat and unethical techniques to sabotage a competitor’s rankings in search engines. Negative SEO attacks can take a number of different forms:
- Hacking your website
- Building hundreds or thousands of spammy links to your website
- Copying your content and distributing it all over the internet
- Pointing links to your website using keywords like Viagra, poker online, and many others
- Creating fake social profiles and ruining your reputation online
- Removing the best backlinks your website has
How to Combat Negative SEO Against Your Website
If you notice that someone has started a negative SEO campaign against your company, here’s what you can do:
1. Create a List with the Backlinks You Should Remove
Check the links to your website that were recently created, and choose the bad ones, so you can try to remove them. Add tags to your bad links. Check these manually and decide which ones are hurting your rankings, and try to remove them.
2. Try to Remove the Bad Links
After identifying the backlinks you should remove, contact the webmaster of the website and request that your link be removed. If you can’t find any contact page, use Whois.com/whois to find a contact email address.
Add the root domain of the website you are trying to contact and look for “Registrant email.”
If your link is not removed and you don’t get an answer, either, you can contact the company that’s hosting the website and ask them to remove the spammy links. Most hosting companies will help you and remove the links.
Check who is hosting the website on WhoIsHostingThis.com.
3. Create a Disavow List
You can use the Google Disavow Tool if you have received a manual penalty. So, if none of the above methods worked, create a disavow list that you can later submit to Google Webmaster Tools.