What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO is ultimately a term that describes an attack against a website. The attacked website should be banned from the front result pages of the search engines. So it’s about achieving the exact opposite effect you normally want to achieve with SEO. This explains the use of the adjective “negatives”.
Basically, to do Negative SEO, you’re using the previously popular Black Hat SEO methods that no longer work to push the page today. In addition, advanced players rely on direct hacking attacks or attack the reputation of the damaged site on the Internet.
The negative SEO techniques at a glance:
Build countless bad backlinks (keyword: Bad Neighbourhood) in a short time. This works especially well if you also use conspicuous spam keywords such as Viagra, online casino and more. Automated duplication of contents or even reflections of the entire website on hundreds of domains (keyword: Duplicate Content).
Degradation of good backlinks (by pretending to be active for the attacked website) Attack on the online reputation by using fake accounts on social media or trying to associate the attacked website with spam marketing.
Hack attack on the site and installation of spam or malware Some time ago, it was unsure whether Negative SEO, such as setting Bad Neighbourhood links, could really have a negative impact on a website’s ranking. In the meantime, we can be sure of that and not only because it always more reports successful Negative SEO campaigns on the net, but also because in recent years, again and again, without negative SEO attack site operators were “victims” of punishment in the Google ranking.
The affected site operators were called by the search engine giant to break down unnatural links or to invalidate them using the Disavow tool. To underline that Google is serious, these website owners lost their good ranking and thus substantial parts of their income.
How do you protect yourself from Negative SEO?
If a competitor or an SEO expert hired by the competitor uses the mentioned techniques to attack your website, then you have to act at the latest. In order not to be vulnerable to such an unscrupulous attack, you should also prevent. Protecting oneself from negative SEO attacks, preparing them and being able to react quickly is more effective and easier than acting only when they have already unfolded their full effect.
By the way, if you think that your competitors are way too decent to get you into negative SEO, then you should check out this post takes a closer look. In it, an SE0 expert outlines how they got on a cold email with the offer of taking action from the Negative SEO over 80 percent of prospective respondents. Almost 30 percent actually wanted to know only the bank details of the agency in order to transfer immediately.
Former Google web spam boss Matt Cuts said the search engine giant is doing everything it can to detect and stop these methods. To this day, however, is little to recognize. There is no guarantee for that Accordingly, you have to take the matter into your own hands.
These attacks can overtake your website
Attack 1: Spam links to the website
The sooner you realize that spam backlinks are being put on your site, the faster you can react and degrade or evaluate them. With a backlink analysis tool, you should regularly monitor and control your incoming links. If you notice that there are suddenly several links hailing from supposedly “spammy” pages, you have to take action.
First, check if these links are actually going to be bad for your ranking and if necessary contact the webmaster. Ask him to remove her. If this is not possible, you should use Google’s Disavow tool and invalidate the links.
Attack 2: Good links are broken down
This is where the SEO expert who is aiming for you goes before: With the help of a tool, he analyses your backlink structure and creates a list of your good backlinks. Now he writes directly to the webmasters in your name and asks you to remove these links. An outrageous explanation, he also thinks for it. Your good backlinks are dwindling and probably your good rankings.
To prevent this attack, you should get used to always use a domain-related e-mail address and no Gmail, Hotmail addresses for collaborations. If you are suddenly asked to link with a fake address of a free provider, informed webmasters will usually be suspicious. By contrast, if the communication was always sent via such an address, the webmaster could actually simply remove the link without asking you again.
Also for this type of attack, it is important that you know your link profile. If links are removed then you will notice and you can contact the webmasters and ask for the reason.
Attack 3: Your content is copied over dozens of websites (duplicate content)
Through a script, a competitor or a commissioned SEO copy your content or your complete websites and publishes them on hundreds of domains. If Google detects this duplicate content, it can be harmful to your rankings. The bots might even think your page is copied.
You should always keep this in mind. Analyse and monitor your rankings regularly with SEO tools. Set up Google Alerts for your company name and relevant search terms. You can also use Duplicate Content Checker and search the network for copied content.
If you found duplicate content, you’ll report it on the Google Support pages and try to counteract it.
Attack 4: Your good reputation in the net should be undermined
With spam marketing campaigns like bulk emails or social media fake accounts, is trying to harm your good online reputation? Of course, you should get that as soon as possible. In the worst case, your site may even be flagged as a phishing site in a spam mail campaign – with fatal effects on visitors and rankings. The social media fake accounts could quickly get followers and give you a bad reputation that you will not easily lose on the net.
So, if you’re targeted for such a campaign, its important that you get to know it quickly. Therefore, you should keep an eye on your mentions in social media and on the web with appropriate monitoring tools. That way, you’ll be able to contact Google Support as early as possible and provide at least one reputable answer in blogs, social media, etc.
Attack 5: Your site is being attacked by a hacker
As in all other areas, there is no 100% protection against hacker attacks. But you can build a few hurdles on your website. If you use WordPress, you could install a security plugin (which of course is also available for other CMS). In addition, you should use a strong password (a combination of numbers, special characters, upper case, etc.) and make regular backups of your database.
If a hacker despite plugin and strong password managed to “break in with you and upload malware or spam, you at least quickly restore the original state thanks to the backup. We have dealt with backup solutions for WordPress in this post.
To quickly notice such an attack, you set up email notifications in Google Webmaster Tools. This is how you will find out if Google is particularly disturbed by content or source code parts on your website.
Is Negative SEO legally permissible?
The answer to the question of whether Negative SEO is legally permissible is to be answered unambiguously throughout the DACH area and it reads: No
The reasoning is logical. Negative SEO aims to directly harm the competitor being attacked. In Germany, this invention results in a number of violations of the Civil Code, the Civil Code, and the UWG, the law against unfair competition. As soon as slander, libel, and other false factual claims are added, the prosecutor is potentially on board. Because than criminal law is affected.
That’s all pretty clear. The problem with this is that Negative SEO must be proven in order to derive any legal consequence. As a rule, the attacks are less concrete than a direct hack or slander on social media. These cases can be determined comparatively well.
But fixing a black-hatter who has built a bad link neighbourhood for your website is far more difficult. This is not only because such attacks are usually not directly controlled by a competitor directly, but are handled by any, usually foreign skilled workers.
The construction of links as the fundamental foundation of the web is not inadmissible and nobody has to show an approval that he or she may link a certain website under certain keywords. Conversely, there is no claim to be linked to his website by someone else or just not being linked.
Another factor is that this form of negative SEO affects only indirectly on the attacked. The dirty work ultimately Google, if they respond to the wrong signals set and devalue the attacked page therefore in the ranking. That’s what the attacker intended, but he does not do it himself.
As a result, it will be difficult for you as the attacker to proceed through the legal track against such machinations. At least it will take much too long. More promising than turning on a lawyer, it is usually to quickly detect the warning signals described here and initiate the aforementioned countermeasures. To be right and to be right are, as always, two different pairs of shoes.
Sandeep Mehta is an SEO Expert who increase online presence of company, products and service. His expertise is digital marketing which includes SEO, Google AdWords and Social Media Marketing. His internet marketing strategies are based upon project niche and requirement.