All around the country, business owners are finding that their websites are dropping in search engine rankings because of low-quality links being pointed at their pages. In essence, Google is punishing them for trying to beat the system with spam-type tactics.
The only problem? Lots of these business owners don’t know where the links came from. This new trend, call “negative SEO” is just the latest evolution in the ongoing battle for search engine traffic. A lot of unethical, shortcut-taking Internet marketers have figured out that their tactics no longer work. But rather than giving them up, they are taking the even lower road and trying to inflict harm on other businesses by using some newer tactics. How worried should you be about negative SEO? And, what can you do to protect yourself and your business?
How to Tell If You Have Been Affected by Negative SEO
The signs of negative SEO are pretty clear: all of a sudden, you’ll have lots of new links (maybe hundreds or thousands) directed at your website. They will probably be coming from websites without any real content, and they won’t make any sense.
Because these links won’t generate any actual traffic, you might not even notice they are there if you aren’t conducting regular search engine optimization audits (or working with a web designer who does that on your behalf). In other words, your first line of defense is just having someone pay attention to what’s going on with your website and search rankings.
The Best Way to Fight Negative SEO
If you are affected by negative search tactics, then there are two things you should do right away. The first is to have your web designer “disavow” those links, which is just a way of telling Google that they aren’t associated with you or your Internet marketing campaigns. That’s a way of flagging them so search engines will ignore them.
The bigger and more important long-term solution is to keep adding the right kinds of content and links to your website. With those in place, negative SEO won’t have much of an impact because Google will be paying attention to the great things on your site, and not a few relatively small blemishes. Negative SEO is certainly dirty and underhanded, but it’s also easy to guard against. Is your web designer doing enough to protect you?