Negative SEO: How To Protect Your Website

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If you’re into SEO, and you’re not familiar with the term “negative SEO,” then buckle up.

I’m about to introduce you to the worst thing that can happen to your website rankings.

What is Negative SEO

Negative SEO is defined as “a group of techniques, all aimed at bringing down a website result in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)”.

Negative SEO is basically a situation when bad people intentionally try to hurt the website rankings of their competitors by spamming them with links that may not be trusted by Google. 

The spammers usually have several ways to execute this attack, and we’re going to cover all of them in this article.

Types of Negative SEO Attacks

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1. DDoS Attack

aka distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)

A DDoS attack is basically when the servers that host your website are bombarded with requests at the same time.

Certain types of DDoS attacks can slow down your website by occupying the bandwidth it has.

Another type of DDoS attack, known as a volumetric, can literally take down your site and make it unreachable for everyone else.

We already know that if your website isn’t accessible, it can hurt your search rankings.

The result?

Your website might take a hit on its rankings for keywords that you’ve been working on for months.

That’s why it is so important for you to track any potential cyber threats and take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of experiencing one.

So what can you do?

Download this tool called Wordfence, it’s a free-to-use security tool that will keep your website safe from hackers and DDOS attacks.

2. Hacking and Gaining Access to Your Website CMS

If someone manages to hack into the backend of your website, they can literally do anything they want to your website.

He/she can remove all valuable content and replace it with garbage, or even destroy the entire website by deleting everything from the server.

To prevent this from happening, you should:

Change your password frequently

Make it a habit to change your password about once per month, this way, you’ll be able to prevent other people from getting into your website.

Change your admin login page URL

In most cases, your login page is going to be “www.website.com/wp-admin” (If you’re using WordPress).

This makes it very easy for hackers to attempt to access your website.

To fix that, simply change the login page URL to something else. You can do that in the WP control panel.

3. Creating Toxic Backlinks with Spammy Anchor Texts Pointing to the Website

This is the most common way someone with malicious intent could hurt your website.

The spammer will usually add backlinks to your website by using anchor texts that he/she knows will raise a red flag to Google’s ranking algorithm.

Link farms, automated software, and PBNs (private blog networks) are commonly used for generating these types of bad links.

How to Combat Fake Backlinks

The Disavow Tool will be your best friend in this situation.

If you notice that your website is getting bad backlinks, meaning links with spammy anchor texts etc. then what you have to do is go to this Google page and upload a file containing all the URLs of those bad links on it.

Google will then review the file and will take appropriate action.

In most cases, Google will remove your backlinks from its index. This way you’ll be able to get rid of toxic links without getting penalized.

4. Posting Fake Negative Reviews About the Website

The spammers can use fake aliases and go to popular review sites like Yelp, Yahoo Answers, your Google My Business profile etc. and post negative reviews about the website’s business owner or product/service he/she offers.

This can really hurt your business because Google will show the reviews on search results where your potential customers are searching for you.

So you should be aware of this and be proactive in dealing with it.

Here’s an in-depth article on how you can deal with negative review attacks.

5. Removing a Website’s Backlinks by Sending out Fake Removal Requests to Webmasters

Attackers may target your backlink profile in an effort to harm your SERP positions and they might pretend to be you or an agency acting on behalf of your company.

In this case, the attacker will get in touch with webmasters and persuade them to remove any links pointing to your site.

Several of such fraudulent removal requests will eventually begin to have a negative impact on your website’s rankings in Google search.

In this case, there really isn’t much you can do except to focus on what you can control and not on what you can’t.

So here are 15 Powerful Link Building Strategies that you can use to improve your website rankings and outdo your competition!

How to Identify and Stop a Negative SEO Attack

To protect your website against these negative SEO attacks, you should set up notifications through Google Search Console and regularly run site audits to correct any technical problems.

If you have Google Search Console setup, Google will alert you via email if you receive a manual action penalty.

You can also use this tool that provides a top-level overview of your website, telling you if there are any signs of your website being hacked.

Conclusion:

Negative SEO is an issue that every website owner should be aware of, it is also important to know how to prevent it from hurting your website.

I hope this guide will be of help! Good luck, and make sure you subscribe to my email list for more SEO and Link Building tutorials.

And if you need help with your link building strategy, feel free to reach out to my Link Building Agency and we can work together.