Negative SEO: how do you protect your website?
What is negative SEO?
Negative SEO occurs every time somebody is trying to harm the website traffic, rankings or reputation. The most discussed type of negative SEO is links related, though. It takes place when the website is attacked by the enormous amount of low-quality links. High traffic to the website used to be a good thing before Google released its Penguin (the latest version 3.0) algorithm. Who would think that this kind of animal can create a new type of SEO that has a negative impact on the website and can be controlled by the competitors?
What does Penguin 3.0 do?
Google had very good intentions when launching Penguin back in April, 2012. They introduced the algorithm to help fight the webspam. This algorithm aims to push down the websites which are trying to manipulate the system by purchasing spammy links, for example. If the website doesn’t follow the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines (GWT), it will be penalized. You can check here if your website follows the GWT guidelines. GWT help you identify any issues the website has and even detect if the website was hacked or negative SEO campaign was launched against your company.
How to recover after Penguin penalized you?
There are several steps to consider to recover after a Google penalty.
1. The first step is to get a full list of your backlinks. There are several tools which can be used to build the lists of backlinks to your website. I recommend using several of them simultaneously. Among those tools are Majestic SEO, Monitor Backlinks, Ahrefs, Cognitive SEO, Raven, SEOMoz.
2. Once you got the list of the links, you can start analyzing them for quality. You should pay more attention to the links if:
- The number of the links which have exact-match anchor text increased
- The links come from the web pages that are untrustworthy or irrelevant to you
- The number of the links which come mostly from blog networks increased
3. Aggregate the data of all the links and pick those ones which you want to delete. It can be a good idea to make the links audit from time to time to keep the links profile clean and tidy.
4. The next step will be to remove links. Then Google recommends using Disavow tool to apply to your website. Although, there is another opinion from Josh Bachynski about the benefits of disavowing the links.
To summarize, negative SEO exists and to protect your website, you should take preventive measures focusing on the high quality SEO website and keeping track of your links.
If you need help setting up your defences, be sure to schedule a free 25 minute consultation with us.