Negative SEO

Negative SEO is something that you’ve more than likely heard a lot about lately, and ever since Google’s Penguin update people have been going crazy about it. One particular example of a person using negative SEO for their own gain is here and although there’s a lot of reading in it, it’s worth spending the time reading through that thread. Here are some questions that people have about negative SEO:

What is Negative SEO?

Usually when internet marketers talk about SEO they talk about how to improve a certain sites rankings, as you can probably guess, negative SEO is the complete opposite. This is when you deliberately go out to harm a sites rankings (usually a competitors – otherwise why would you do it?). There are many ways of doing this to a site, such as buying low quality links and pointing them to the site you want to target, hacking the website to put malware or whatever on it or even paying to get someone to give the site a lot of 5 star reviews and so on to make it appear as if the site owner is doing this themselves.

How to know if your Site is a Target of Negative SEO

There’s no easy way of knowing whether someone is targeting your site by using negative SEO tactics, but there are a few signs that should ring alarm bells. Here they are:

  • Content
  • When you post new content on your website, search for a sentence or two from the content that you’ve just published and see does it turn up on any other sites. There are people who steal your content before it gets indexed (and then posts it on their own site) to make it appear as if you’re the one that is stealing content which will have a negative effect on your rankings.

  • Lots of Links
  • Keep checking tools that check your backlinks to keep an eye on all of your sites backlinks. From time to time you’ll obviously notice some backlinks that seem quite spammy, but if you notice thousands of spammy looking links within a reasonably short period of time then someone might be trying to harm your sites rankings by using negative SEO.

  • Reviews
  • It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on review type sites (which you should be looking at anyway if run a popular site) to see if there are any obvious fake reviews. You might think that you should look out for poor reviews when it comes to negative SEO, but in actual fact there’s a higher chance of having a lot of really good reviews about your site if you site is a target of negative SEO. Competitors can do this to make it look like you’re the one adding all of these “great” reviews about your site which obviously won’t look good if someone from Google or whatever sees them.

Is there anything that I can do?

There’s no easy way of making sure that negative SEO can’t be used on one of your sites, since after all, anyone can build spammy links and so on to whatever site they want. If you’re looking for a way to try to keep your site safe from negative SEO, all you’ve got to do is keep doing exactly what you were doing before. If there are two sites, one with a strong backlink profile and another with a poor backlink profile, the site with a strong backlink profile wouldn’t suffer as much as the other site if it was a target of negative SEO, so keep that in mind.

At the end of the day, people that use negative SEO to harm other sites would be much better off spending their time and money on improving their own site, so it’s not as much of a problem as some people think it is.