Businesses often go out of their way to create innovative strategic advantages in the ever-changing digital world. However, some businesses take extreme measures and resort to using unethical methods, such as negative SEO, to give themselves a competitive edge.
Negative SEO is the use of blackhat techniques (malicious methods against Google’s guidelines), to sabotage the quality of a website. Competitors, hackers, or spammers employ blackhat tactics to deter your SEO efforts, resulting in your website ranking lower in search engines.
There are numerous ways to launch a negative SEO attack, such as website hacking, creating hundreds of spammy links to your website, duplicating your content all over the Internet, and writing fake reviews on Google My Business to ruin your brand’s reputation. However, it usually results in the website dropping drastically in ranking or being completely blocked from displaying in search engines.
In this article, we discuss 5 effective ways to defend your website from negative SEO, which include:
- Using Google Webmaster Tools to stay on top of suspicious activity on your website.
- Monitoring backlinks.
- Protecting backlinks.
- Looking out for and reporting copied content.
- Tracking and reporting negative mentions of your business on social media.
Let’s dive in!
1. Get Email Alerts from Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools can help you track activities on your website. This is helpful in the following ways:
- Prompts you when your website experiences a malware attack or there are server connectivity problems.
- Notifies you when your pages are not indexed.
- Alerts you of penalties from Google.
But before it can do that, you need to link your website to the tool. Most business owners should already have an account on the platform. The process of activating email notifications is simple:
- Log in to the platform.
- Click on ‘Webmaster Tools Preferences.’
- Under ‘Email notifications’, tick the ‘Enable email notifications’ option.
- Under the ‘Type’ option, select ‘All issues’, and you are done.
Google will now notify you of any issues with your site.
2. Monitor your backlinks
Competitors or spammers typically try to bring a site’s ranking down through low-quality backlinks, links that direct back to your website from another. The easiest way to do this is to backlink your site to untrusted websites.
You can stop such activity by monitoring your backlinks. There are tools available to manually audit backlinks, such as Ahrefs. You can also use tools like MonitorBacklinks.com, which connects to your Google Analytics account and automatically sends you notifications when a new backlink is generated to your website.
This way, you will be notified when you receive a ton of backlinks to an untrusted website and take action against it.
Monitoring backlinks lets you stay on top of any suspicious activities linked to negative SEO. So, you work on minimising the impact of the attack.
3. Protect Your Backlinks from Negative SEO
Spammers can easily identify your best backlinks and try to remove them. However, you can prevent this from happening by taking the following measures:
- Use your business email, which includes your business domain, to communicate with web admins.
- Keep an eye on your backlinks. Monitoring backlinks is important. You can do so by adding tags to them.
Adding tags to your backlinks informs you when the status of the link changes. So, if your backlinks are removed, you would know during your audit. Immediately contact the web admin to ask why it was removed.
- Get your website Ranked No.1 on Google with KWD SEO Auckland
4. Look Out for Others Copying Your Content
Content marketing is vital for SEO. Unfortunately, not everyone is creative enough to write compelling content that engages the target audience. Often, websites would claim a piece of content as their own by copying the content from other websites and simply replacing their brand name in the content.
Well, anyone that understands SEO knows that Google penalises duplicate content. If the site that copied your content is indexed before yours, your site’s content will be devalued and rank lower. There are numerous tools online like Copyscape that can help you detect plagiarised content. Use them to see if your content has been copied.
You can report sites that copy your content. Once you discover such a site, you can submit its details to Google’s copyright removal form. After that, Google takes care of the rest.
5. Track Your Business Mentions on Social Media
Social media platforms make it easy for anyone to create a page about anything. Spammers take advantage of this and create fake company profiles for businesses. If you find a fake profile for your business, report it immediately to the platform it’s on. Otherwise, you run the risk of such a page ruining your business to the ground.
There is an easy way to track social media mentions of your business with Mention.net. First, create an account on the tool. You then set alerts for the mention of your business name on various social media platforms. You will be notified when anyone uses your business name, whether for a profile or comment.
By closely monitoring social media mentions of your business, you can report fake accounts and track people’s comments about your business on social media.
Our Final Thought
Search engine ranking is vital for businesses to flourish in the digital space. The last thing you need is for all your efforts and resources to go down the drain because you didn’t defend your website from negative SEO. So, set up email notifications from Google Webmaster tools, regularly monitor backlink, protect your backlinks, report copied content, and stay on top of your social media mentions. Your website should be protected from unethical practices linked to negative SEO.