You know something’s wrong, but you can’t put your finger on what. Your Ecommerce site has been getting less and less traffic. Your business website takes longer and longer to load. Even the engagement on your blog has slowed down, but you have no idea why any of this is happening. It seemed like only moments ago your business was booming…
If your online brand is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s quite possible your business has become a victim of negative SEO.
Negative SEO is serious and can be detrimental to a company, but we’ll show you how to spot the effects and what you can do to recover.
With each passing year, it’s harder and harder to establish and maintain a high ranking on Google and other search engines. Google regularly changes its algorithm rules in an effort to identify websites that try to “game the system” with cheap tricks in order to elevate their ranking. One cheap trick is cramming so many SEO keywords and longtail keyword phrases onto a web page that it overwhelms the content. Another cheap trick is creating a website with dozens upon dozens of web pages. When Google’s A.I. “spiders” recognize this kind of spammy behavior, it penalizes the guilty websites.
What this means is that unethical businesses have developed yet another cheap trick in their quest to dominate Google–attack the higher-ranking websites of their competitors. That’s right. If your business website has been rising in SEO ranking, you could have a target on your back.
Devious competitors could attack your website with negative SEO in order to take you down a notch… as if doing such a thing will automatically elevate their own SEO ranking.
Negative SEO can take on a number of different forms, which makes spotting this kind of attack difficult to pinpoint. Read on to learn about the telltale signs a competitor is trying to sabotage your success with negative SEO and what you can do about it.
If you don’t know what negative SEO looks like when it strikes, you won’t be able to reverse it. Here are the biggest indications your website is under a negative SEO attack.
Have you noticed that when you pull up the homepage of your website, it takes an unusually long time to load? Initially, you might optimistically assume this is good news–maybe a ton of visitors have discovered your site all at once? When you check your website hits, you discover that you’ve actually been getting less traffic than usual… hmm.
Your website could be the victim of forceful crawling, which results in a heavy server load, causing your site to slow down and potentially crash. Forceful crawling makes a website inaccessible. When Google can’t access the website as usual, its A.I. determines something is wrong and will automatically push that website down in ranking. If this problem persists, Google could conclude that the site is defunct and completely de-rank it altogether.
You completely understand and respect that “content is king”, which is why you’ve taken particular care to build a well-written website. You might even have an active blog on your site and publish popular content regularly to drive website traffic, validate your company, and establish your brand within your industry.
If you’ve invested in hiring content writers, the last thing you want is for your competitors to plagiarize your website. Having your content stolen not only makes your company look bad–the average visitor will not be able to tell if you were the plagiarist or the other guy–but it also triggers Google to penalize both sites containing the copied content, which will massively impact your ranking. In order to keep an eye on your content, use Copyscape, a free website that will locate duplications of your content for you.
Have you heard of “spammy link farms”? It’s a dirty trick some unethical companies implement to sabotage high-ranking, successful online businesses. A link farm is a website that contains an overwhelming number of hyperlinks to other sites. Link farm websites don’t contain original, traffic driving content–these people aren’t even pretending to be ethical! Instead, link farms use repeated “anchor text” for these hyperlinks… and you do not want these people hyperlinking to your legitimate business website, because it will negatively affect your Google ranking…
Even though Google uses a webspam net to catch these spam farms, their mechanisms don’t catch everything. If you regularly monitor your backlinks, you’ll be able to spot if your website has become the victim of a spammy link farm. Bring a list of any suspicious links to the attention of your website’s webmaster and formally request a removal. Tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush are useful for monitoring your backlinks.
Oh no, you’ve spotted negative SEO associated with your website. You want to get rid of it as quickly as possible to mitigate damages and recover ASAP. Here’s what you can do immediately:
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