Negative SEO Campaigns: Are You a Target?

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The point of Google Penguin was to cut back on the effects of low-quality backlinks on the organic search performance of websites. Those who were doing SEO the right way were unhappy, but black hat SEO spammers were just fine with the Penguin update. Why? Because black hat SEO providers use negative SEO, the practice of attacking other websites with bad links, to bring down their competitors’ rankings. Now, negative SEO will impact good sites with even more penalties under Google Penguin. Black hat spammers who attack competitors with negative SEO can do more damage to those competitors in less time, with less work.

For that reason, everyone needs to stay informed about negative SEO; we need to know the tactics that are used and how to fend them off. One of the most effective ways to defend yourself is to monitor your backlink profile. There are many tools available to help you monitor your website’s backlink profile, such as Raven Tools and SEO MozPRO. These are paid tools, but investing in one of them can be worth it in order to prevent bad links from coming your way and triggering a Google Penguin penalty. Look for a tool that allows you to run negative SEO checks on a regular basis. When you are running those checks, these are the types of links you want to be on the lookout for:

  • Links from “bad neighborhood” sites, such as gambling sites, sites with pornographic content, etc.
  • Links from non-English language sites
  • Links from spam pages and parked domains
  • Links from sites with dozens of links on a single page
  • Links from pages that trigger a virus or malware warning on your end

Of course, noticing links from these sites does not always mean that a competitor is trying to attack you with negative SEO. There may be some other black hat SEO scheme at play; there are countless said schemes out there. However, if you see an onslaught of those links when monitoring your backlink profile, there is a good chance that someone is trying to throw negative SEO your way – and succeeding.

So naturally, your next step is to report them. This is done using Google’s Link Disavow Tool, a service that nullifies the old practice of reporting to web hosts. When using this tool, you will have to create a file that lists the links you want Google to disavow – in other words, you want them to not consider these links when analyzing your backlink profile so that you do not get penalized. A word of caution, though: If the links you ask Google to disavow turn out to be good links after all, your site’s organic search results could suffer. Google will show you this warning as well when you use the Disavow Tool.

Take this information into account when considering how your site can avoid negative SEO. Of course, getting rid of bad backlinks is a good thing for search results whether you are being targeted by a negative SEO campaign or not. And for actual SEO services, contact Crest Media. We will be happy to answer your questions.


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