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Negative SEO

Understanding Negative SEO: how to spot it and counter it?

Positioning your site on the first page of search engines is an obstacle course. Not everyone succeeds. If you manage to raise your site in the SERP thanks to SEO, watch your back, otherwise your rivals could take advantage of the flaws in the algorithms. They will ruin your natural referencing to improve their positioning. How is it possible?

Unfair competitors use negative SEO or NSEO to harm your ranking. Among other things, they exploit poor quality inbound links. They tarnish your site’s online reputation with fake reviews on Facebook, Google My Business and other platforms. How can we identify this unethical and illegal practice in order to counter it?

Read this article to discover the best way to protect your website against attacks from your competitors.

What does negative SEO mean?

Negative SEO or NSEO refers to a set of unethical SEO techniques by which third parties reach a website. This is an SEO attack from an unfair competitor. The goal is to destroy your credibility with Google and its web crawlers. Indeed, Google Penguin punishes poor quality web pages. When your site is the victim of negative SEO, the penguin algorithms consider that you are using the black hat SEO technique. Therefore, you pay the costs.

SEO attacks occur more frequently in profitable niches when unfair competition intrudes. Instead of implementing a real natural global seo company strategy, it uses obscure processes to harm your website. Negative SEO techniques allow hackers to:

  • Hack your site: your rivals seek the help of a hacker to illicitly access your storefront. Thus, they introduce unwanted and invisible content.
  • Distributing duplicate content: this form of Negative SEO aims to destroy your credibility with robots that crawl websites. As soon as you put content online, your competitors steal it and publish it on different sites.
  • Generate fake traffic: to push your site to exceed its traffic limit, hackers overload you with requests from fake visitors and your positioning takes a hit. Site loading time increases. The number of real users is decreasing.
  • Generate low-quality inbound links to destroy your site.
  • Create a redirect from a questionable site to yours and increase your spam score to bring you down.
  • Use Blast SEO, etc.

How do you know that your site is the victim of penalized SEO?

Negative SEO can certainly affect you in several ways, but its manifestations generally remain the same. To find out if you are under attack, use tools like Majestic or Ahrens. They allow you to check the status of links entering your website. Additionally, you can register your sites on Google Search Console.

It presents you with performance reports and traffic to your sites on time. You find the problems to solve and implement different optimizations to improve your ranking. So focus on natural results in the SERP and the number of visits to your site.

Spot a case of Negative SEO on your site

Let’s say you are creating a niche site with the WordPress CMS. You use a web agency to optimize your SEO. You benefit from the help of SEO consultants. They work on your semantic cocoon and the internal mesh of your site. SEO experts entrust the web writing of your blog articles to a professional editor. They create an effective content strategy for you focused on choosing relevant keywords. They subsequently provide quality backlinks in the same theme.

After a while, you improve your Trust flow. Your site inspires trust and you increase your popularity. Finally, SEO work pays off! You generate more traffic. Your site appears first in the natural results when Internet users type sensitive queries on your topic.

You have an unfair competitor who, unlike you, does not seek help from an SEO agency. He does not have the assistance of any SEO expert, but he wants to improve his Google SEO and positioning quickly. What is he doing? It uses negative SEO. It copies and pastes your content on different sites as soon as you publish it. Very clever, it is ahead of indexing robots.

Google Penguin suspects you and the algorithm suspects that you are a black hat. Your competitor continues to exploit Negative SEO techniques and increases the number of poor quality links pointing to your site. It creates redirects from low-quality sites to yours and then you fall. You analyze your site with tools like Ahrens, Majestic SEO to ultimately notice that you go from first to tenth place on some of your keywords.

What does this SEO penalty bring to your site?

SEO attacks from a malicious competitor are not just limited to a loss of place in natural results. You also see a significant reduction in traffic. Indeed, natural referencing obeys the law of cause and effect. The further you go from the first page of results; the more traffic you experience.

The drop in visitors can occur when you deindex web pages from your site. This also happens when you encounter a problem with your web hosting. Is your site loading time long? And you don’t have any of the first two problems? In this case, it is very likely that your site is the victim of SEO attacks. You can counter Negative SEO if you detect it in time.

How to protect yourself and keep your site secure? 

To avoid poor referencing of your website in search engines, adopt a permanent monitoring attitude.

  • Create and use a Google Alerts account

This tool allows you to carry out relevant monitoring of your keywords. You receive a message as soon as an Internet user uses expressions or types queries that you are targeting. In addition, you keep a close eye on trends in your market and anticipate them if necessary.  

  • Carry out regular SEO audits of your linking

This involves analyzing all incoming links. Your site is in fact attacked when it receives poor quality links or redirects. You must evaluate all the links pointing to your website and reject those which could harm your natural referencing. Keep authority links, they add more to your popularity. To track your link profile, use tools like Ahrens or Google Search Console.  

  • Use the Page Speed ​​Insights tool to track the performance of your website

Bad SEO also manifests itself in very slow site loading times. If you suspect that your storefront is slowing down, this performance testing tool from Google will be of great help to you. It provides you with information on the loading speed of a web page on PC and mobile. If your site remains slow despite any optimizations, it is probably a case of Negative SEO.

  • Regularly check if other platforms are copying your content

With Cityscape, control if your content is copied on other sites. If you detect a case of duplicate content, don’t waste time. Do not contact the webmaster of the site in question. Report the issue directly to Google to get your copyright back.

Some additional measures to prevent and counter SEO attacks

Take care of your e-reputation, because we don’t always know who is behind the profiles. Your competitors may create fake accounts and leave bad reviews under your posts. They will use platforms like Google My Business, TripAdvisor to destroy your brand image. As soon as you come across inaccurate reviews about your business, report them.

Finally, be on your guard. Detect issues that could harm your site and fix them in time. Migrate to HTTPS to ensure your site is protected against hacking.  

If your rivals are burdening you with paid links or unreliable site URLs, remove them manually. In case you come across a lot of low-quality links, use Google’s disavow tool. Disavow Tool helps you analyze and then reject unwanted links. To avoid SEO attacks from a dishonest competitor, entrust your web project to an SEO company. It helps you create an optimized and secure site. She works on your SEO and provides you with quality content and backlinks. Your SEO agency improves your visibility and monitors your online reputation. It guarantees your long-term digital success through ongoing efforts and regular monitoring.

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