Harmful effects of negative Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the Holy Grail for Internet Marketers when it comes to improving the organic search result ranking for a particular website. It is considered mandatory, if an individual or company wants their website to receive visitors and traffic. White Hat and Black Hat SEO are the two groupings which all practitioners of SEO fall under. White Hats deploy long-term and user-friendly methods that conform to search engine guidelines. It is primarily focused on creating quality content that will attract a consistent stream of readers. This will eventually lead to the Search Engines (e.g. Google) rating the site highly. On the contrary, Black Hats try to deceive the search engine by bombarding it with poor quality links, so as to artificially gain improved rankings. As we will find out shortly, this is often a risky move that can negatively impact your site.
Negative SEO effects
As we have slightly touched on the previous paragraph, Black Hat techniques can cause your website to be completely removed from the search engine results. Imagine if your site is non-existent on Google search results? This is simply because search engines have zero tolerance for malicious and spam techniques that are meant to trick their algorithms to achieve quick success.
Then one begs the question, how is malicious and destructive SEO inserted into a website to begin with? Well, they are two possible scenarios.
Firstly, the webmaster of a site or the contracted company can intentionally or carelessly use negative SEO techniques such as building low quality incoming/outgoing links to the main site. As you can see, this is a counterproductive move and one must avoid such actions.
Secondly, an unscrupulous competitor may try to get your site blacklisted from popular search engines by using the very same method mentioned above. And the scary bit is that the competing firm can inflict such harm on your site without leaving a trace behind.
Antidotes for Negative SEO
Is it possible to detect and counter a negative SEO attack on your portal? Detection tools can be used to uncover and pinpoint all the harmful links that are connected to your site. The resulting list will then be thoroughly analysed and scrutinized to differentiate the quality links from those malicious and poor quality ones.
If you have confirmed to be a victim of a negative SEO attack, you have several strategies at your disposal to address the problem:
(a) Link Removal Requests
Request the owner of each website, where the offending links originate to remove them completely. Note that some site owners might require a fee for carrying out the job.
(b) Disown links via Google Webmaster Tools
Report the crime before it hurts you. You should promptly inform Google that there are corrupt links pointing to your site and there is nothing you can do about it after exhausting all available options.
(c) Request a domain change
Your last resort is to change your domain completely in extreme cases when the volume of low quality links is too great to be addressed completely.
There is a thing such as negative SEO. SEO or search engine optimization is performed on websites to increase their rankings in the Google search engine page. However, SEO can also be used performed to decrease the rankings of a website. This is known as negative SEO. Negative SEO techniques can decrease the rankings of any website on Google.
This a very unethical practice certainly and falls under the category of black hat SEO techniques. In fact, black hat SEO techniques are used, except on other websites. In simplest terms, a negative SEO attack completely destroys the rankings of a website in Google
Why is Negative SEO used?
There are quite a few companies that use negative SEO techniques to gain an unfair advantage over their rival companies, which are usually more popular. These companies are unscrupulous and will often resort to morally shady procedures such as negative SEO to get ahead. These companies are unable to fight fair and square. The negative SEO techniques make it seem like a website has been optimized using spam links and other poor SEO procedures. The Google search algorithms will recognize these spammy techniques and penalize the website. After all, the algorithms cannot differentiate between a negative SEO attack and an improper SEO.
Characteristics of a Negative SEO attack
A negative SEO attack can take on many forms. However, ultimately, the reputation of the company is destroyed.
- The website is hacked and then optimized or rather, de-optimized, using spam SEO techniques and black hat practices.
- Fake social network profiles are created which are then used to spread wrongful information about the website and company in general. In other words, the online reputation of the company is completely wrecked.
- Backlinks are created to the website but they are of a poor quality and filled with spam. Broken backlinks are another common scenario.
- The good backlinks of the website are deleted along with the best keywords.
- Plagiarizing the content of the site by copying it across various websites across the internet.
- Spam links are linked to the website.
Prevention of Negative SEO Attack
Due to the severe harm that a negative SEO attack can wreck in your website, it is important that preventive measures are taken as soon as possible. Through preventive measures it may be possible to stop the attack completely or, at least, limit the damage done to the website.
- Google Webmaster Tools need to be set up properly in your website. Ensure that you have the email notification system on so that you can get notified immediately when changes are being made.
- Keep a track of the mentions you are getting on the various social media channels. If false information is being spread, you may be able to counterattack them.
- Backlinks are important and you need to monitor them on a regular basis. Remove spam links as soon as you locate them.
- Ensure that all your original content is copyrighted so that it cannot be plagiarized.
Negative SEO attacks can completely undermine the hard work you have done in your website. Prevent them from occurring and you may be able to enjoy a thriving business.