Sydney, Australia, February 26, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- Negative SEO has long been an underhanded SEO technique used by hackers or malicious competitors to derail a sites search engine rankings. It’s certainly not a new technique and it has been a threat since 2007, when Google re-wrote it’s guidelines stating that it’s very difficult for a competitor to inflict harm on your site through negative SEO. However, since Google’s algorithm updates, through major releases such as Google Penguin that are designed to really to a hard line on web spam, it appears this tactic is now on the rise, with reported extortion emails being sent to web masters.
Michael Jenkins of Shout
recently said negative SEO exists and is capable of damaging or destroying a website through malicious backlinks and spamming.
“Negative SEO is a real threat that can potentially lead to a dramatic drop in site rankings, traffic and have huge effects on a companies bottom line,” Mr Jenkins said.
“If your brand is highly visible on the search engines, on sought after phrases, there is a very real chance that your brand could be subjected to negative SEO.”
Many believe that Google is able to see unnatural occurrences in a sites link profile, and hence, they will discount the links that have been maliciously created. This is simply not the case. Google is unable to determine who has instigated the spam to the site. It just sees a spike in spam, and penalizes the site for the breach in Google’s guidelines. When this occurs, Google will penalize the site, resulting in a drop in rankings and site traffic.
With negative SEO it usually occurs in two ways. Firstly, by increasing the number of links you have to your site aggressively, in a short period of time, from irrelevant and low quality sites. For instance, if your site was to attain 500 links from free general business directories that were part of a network of sites, this could majorly impact the quality of your sites link profile and in turn lead to a sharp drop in rankings.
The second way is through code injections, and creating an unbalanced inbound to outbound link profile or creating server interruptions, resulting in Google unable to crawl your site and de-indexing pages or your site all together. Essentially, what is happening here is that the hacker will create large volumes of links to poor quality, distasteful sites that are, in most cases, not contextual to the business. If this occurs the sites quality is passed to these sites, and in turn loses its relevance for its targeted phrases or worse be un-indexed.
What can be done to avoid negative SEO, or what can be done if your brands site receives negative SEO?
Mr Jenkins says, “The key is to be vigilant, and detect unusual link activity and quickly and inform Google as to the malicious links that have been directed to your site.”
Here is a four step formula to overcome a negative SEO attack:
Checking your sites backlinks
Checking your back links is critical to know what links are being sent to your site. Tools such as ahrefs, moz, majestic SEO are sophisticated tools that will show what links have been sent to your site, and how these sites are linking to your site.
3. Disavowing unnatural and malicious links
The above steps will help you detect unnatural links. Once these have been detected it’s time to upload these links to Google webmasters and to disavow these links. This lets Google know, that you have made an effort to remove links, and where you haven’t been able to manually remove the link, to remove this links effect on your site.
4. Seeking a reconsideration request from Google
If your site has been penalized, it is necessary to seek a reconsideration request through Google. This can be done through Google Webmaster tools.
Mr Jenkins said another way to survive a negative SEO attack was to look at the links that are coming to business’ website.
“In this instance you want be looking at relevancy of links,” he said. “If you are fashion retailer, and links are coming in from fashion blogs or retail based sites and social media, then that would represent a healthy link profile.
“However, if there were hundreds of industrial sites linking through that had no relevance to your site, then this may look suspect. You can remove these links by alerting Google through disavowing the links which can be done through Webmasters as well.”