About a month ago, SEO operatives were abuzz about the latest stick in the eye from Google. Once again, the nefarious beast Penguin was unleashed in a refreshed 3.0 version to basically check up on sites that had been previously penalized to see if they have gotten their act together. Of course newer sites were also scrutinized and fell under the Penguin axe if found lacking. Some conspiracy theorists even claim that Penguin’s pal Panda tagged along to create some havoc as well. Who knows? Matt Cutts never tells us exactly what Google is doing, so speculation runs rampant and we either bemoan the ramifications of shoddy SEO or rejoice when our websites jump in the rankings. Who ever thought that SEO could be so cloak and dagger?
What Is Negative SEO?
Now some SEO magicians who had their websites obliterated from the rankings staunchly have claimed that they were operating under the strict graces of Google. So how could their sites have tanked so badly? Well, one possibility is that they, or their sites to be specific, were the victims of Negative SEO. Pray tell, what is Negative SEO you ask? Let me lay it out for you. Negative SEO is when a competitor, rival company, malicious SEO dweeb, etc. directs some nasty spammy links to your site, usually in horrendous quantities, for the sole purpose of torpedoing your website’s Google rankings. It can even be accomplished inadvertently when links are purchased from not so reliable sources that claim to have “Penguin friendly” or “Google safe” links but in reality are selling, to put it bluntly, nothing but crappy links that Google will spot like a dog turd in the snow.
How Can You Protect Your Site From Negative SEO?
First of all, let’s get real. If you have been building sites with thin, spammy content for the sole purpose of quick rankings, do a little in-house soul searching first. And regarding all of those Fiver links that you have been buying by the gross, well, you may want to re-think that link building strategy (if you don’t know what a Fiver link is, good for you!). Your Negative SEO may just be a byproduct of your own, shall we say less than stellar SEO practices. But if you truly build quality sites and have a solid link building strategy, then vigilance is your best defense.
Monitoring the links to your sites is the best way to ascertain if you have been hit with Negative SEO. There are many link checking tools, Majestic SEO being just one of them. If there are a bunch or even a whole bunch of links pointing to your site from dubious sources, such as porn sites or Russian link networks (you will see an “ru” at the end of the link, referred to as SAPE links) then you may have been targeted. In this case you can use the Google Disavow Tool to basically tell Google that these are not your links. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much. You can also contact the webmaster(s) and ask that the links be removed, but good luck with that option.
Know Thine SEO Enemy
If you know who the dirty rotten scoundrel is that is blasting your websites with pure links from hell, try confronting them with the damning evidence. Of course evidence will undoubtedly be hard to come by. It’s not as if the links will carry a “courtesy of your competitor” tag of any sort. But if you have an inkling, why not shoot them an email, telling them to knock it off or else! The “or else” is up to your imagination, but it may just be enough to scare the bejesus out of them and end the Negative SEO campaign. Of course if it wasn’t them, you will probably get an interesting email in return. So what if they can’t take a joke.
But probably the best defense of all against Negative SEO is to have the Fortress of Solitude of websites, so substantial and authoritative and clean that no Negative SEO can do damage, at least not much. If your website is viewed as the pillar of Googleness before the attack, then your site will not be impacted to the same degree that it would be if your linking strategy was already a little dodgy. So let’s recap:
- Build a Googlicious Authority Website
- Don’t buy crappy links
- Monitor your site for the Negative SEO Assassins dirty deeds
Simple enough. But if you require the services of an SEO Ninja, please opt in above for a free consultation, or give us a call.