The Strategist

Meta Leadership Primer: Negative S.E.O

04/30/2019 - 15:18

SEO, or Search Engine Marketing, is one of the many different marketing techniques that you can use to get more visitors to your website, boosting your sales, increasing your email list subscribers, and others. In order to do this, you want to make sure that you only use white hat SEO techniques. This simply means that you are complying with Google and other search engine guidelines.

However, there is also a dark side of SEO — the negative SEO or black hat SEO. And this can definitely hurt your rankings and can even ban you from search engines.

One of the things that you need to know about negative SEO is that it is decreasing when you consider website owners using these techniques to promote their websites. On the other hand, more and more people are using negative SEO to attack other websites. This is happening with increasing velocity and frequency. Understand traffic means money so everything in the tools shed is fair game.

While the threat of being attacked by negative SEO is remote, it can happen, and it can be daunting. So, how can you protect yourself?


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Here are some of the most common negative SEO strategies used and how you can protect yourself:

#1: Scrapped Content Duplicated:

One of the worst things that can happen is to have your high-quality content stolen and published elsewhere under a different name. This is what content scrapers do.

While Google has improved its ability to distinguish who published the content first and penalize the spammer, this isn’t always possible.

In case you are wondering why people do this, it may be for one of two reasons: they want to hurt your reputation and they will immediately publish the scraped content on their website so that Google sees it as their own or they simply want to add high quality content to their website.

In case this happens to you, the best thing you can do is to fill out Google’s Copyright Infringement Report.

#2: Spammy Backlinks And Link Farms:

As you probably already know, high-quality links pointing to your website can help you improve your rankings on the search engine. On the other hand, poor quality likes pointing towards you can hurt you.

So, when someone creates a link farm that has several links pointing to your website, you may suffer the consequences. The reality is that when this happens, the person won’t create just one but several link farms with the same goal.

From Google’s perspective, they see that you are trying to improve your rankings going against their guidelines. So, your website will end up being penalized with a drop in your rankings as well as it will also be flagged.

The best way to prevent this is to keep controlling where your traffic is coming from. In case you notice any unusual activity from one or several particular websites, check them out. If they are link farms, you just need to submit a disavow file listing the attacking domains. As soon as you do this, the more your reputation will be protected.

#3: Malware Attacks and Hacked Websites:

While this kind of attack tends to be more and more frequent, you need to understand that you can protect yourself. As a rule of thumb, you should always monitor closely your traffic stats. The truth is that you can see a lot of information here when you know what you are looking for.

When someone is trying to attack your website, you will notice the “symptoms”. These may include replacing or adding links pointing to their pages, eliminating images and links from your pages, adding low-quality content to your pages, hiding content changes in the HTML, among others.

As I have already mentioned, the best way to prevent malware attacks and hacked websites is to constantly monitor your website and do regular website/content audits. After all its your brand and your message which directly translate to business, that is ultimately at stake!

As a leader of organizations ranging in size and industry it is imperative that you remain in the know regarding technologies that affect your customers and in use by your competition.


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