Since the Penguin update, webmasters have become increasingly concerned about the possibility of a negative SEO attack and how they can penalty-proof their websites. Whilst there is no argument over whether negative SEO exists, there is some discrepancy over the extent to which it can harm a site’s rankings. As negative SEO tactics continue to grow, Google remains ambiguous over the ability of webmasters to negatively affect each other’s rankings.
What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO is a malicious attempt, often by competitors, to harm your website’s rankings. It is a deliberate and organised attempt to give you a spammy back link profile. High numbers of low quality links are directed at a particular site in the hopes that Google filters will be tripped and penalise it for using black hat SEO techniques.
Have You Been Hit with Negative SEO?
A sudden surge in backlinks to your site or drop in rankings does not necessarily indicate foul play. To determine whether or not you have been the victim of negative SEO tactics, it requires a more in-depth investigation into your backlink profile. A negative SEO attack on your site is clear to see as its aggressive nature leaves a large pattern on your profile.
Things to Look Out For
• A dramatic & unexplained increase in backlinks
• Poor quality links from a variety of root domains
• Anchor text irrelevancy
• Unnatural, aggressively targeted anchor text
• Branded anchors from low authority domains
Protecting Yourself Against Negative SEO
Good SEO on your site is the best defense against negative SEO. If your site has a history of good SEO practices, there is less chance of malicious SEO affecting your site. As webmasters pin their hopes on a Google disavow links tool to disregard irrelevant links, it seems that for now stringent link profile analysis and white hat SEO techniques are the best methods of protection.
Unfortunately, SMEs are the businesses that are likely to be most affected. It is simply uneconomical for negative SEO practices to be executed against large brand websites that have a large number of natural links contributing to their authority. If you believe you have been the victim of a negative SEO attack, talk to one of our team today to discuss how you can remove poor quality links and avoid being penalised by Google.
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