Negative SEO attack

What is a negative SEO attack and why do you need to know about it?

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The Internet is like the crossover of a circus and a carnival. There are fun rides and cotton candy, and then there are pickpockets and mazes that can cause you to lose your way and your money. This why, when we search for something, we try to stick to the first page of Google search results. We know, this is where all the right things are. The first page of a regular Google search usually has all the HTTPS links, secure websites and relevant search results. If we do not find what we are looking for, we modify our search terms, yet don’t move onto the next page.

This is why we have SEO. Search engine optimization has the power to get you on the front page for relevant search results irrespective of your location. There are times when you will find your website lagging behind. In spite of trying out all SEO tips, tricks, and hacks, your site does not rank high enough. Relevant search terms like “XYZ services in Saint Louis” does not lead users to your website. This is where you must realize that someone is attacking your site SEO.

How does SEO usually work?

Search engine optimization is how Google makes sure a few websites are good, filled with healthy link juices and are ready to offer good user experience. All you need to do is design a good website, fill it up with informative and useful content and submit your sitemap to Google. Next, the viewers start flooding in. This is your regular white hat SEO.

What is negative SEO?

There was a time when Black Hat SEO ruled the market. Ever since Google rolled out its Hummingbird update, the black hat masters are not as overt. They are still lurking in the shadows with their improved tools and methods. Google has started rolling out harsher punishments including repressing ranks of websites in case of unethical SEOs.

This has led to the rise of negative SEO. This is when someone gains backend access to your site and implements wrong techniques to dampen your website rank and traffic. There are quite a few tactics that these hackers can try to get your site rank down. This can include anything from building multiple links from questionable sites to creating objectionable pop-ups and dialog boxes to mark your user experience.

The ultimate goal of negative SEO is to lower the ranks of your website so your competitor can enjoy their shot at the limelight.

How can you become aware of an SEO attack?

Most negative SEOs have a few patterns. You should look for signs of outright hacking, spammy links that you did not implement, low-quality content that appears out of nowhere, fake reviews and ratings. There are the sure signs that your website is under SEO attack.

You should regularly maintain your website to look for any signs of damage. Damaging a site’s optimization is like damaging the site’s reputation. Any sharp decrease in traffic or increase in irrelevant traffic is also a prominent sign of an SEO hack.

What should you do as a victim of negative SEO?

At first, you can only suspect foul activity. However, take steps as soon as possible to prevent any further damage. You can alert Google of any possible attack on your domain to keep the search engine from penalizing your website outright.

Observe your links

You need to perform regular audits on your website links. This is the best way to get rid of all suspicious activity on your domain. If you see negative public comments, look for the source. Make sure you still have the right of the Admin to moderate all comments.

Look into your website analytics for a gradual increase in backlinks. If your graph should sharp increases in link numbers or a steep drop, this is a sign that your site is not secure. If you manage to find the links that are plaguing your site, alert Google and remove the links.

Check your website speed

Usually, any website that is under attack shows a sharp decrease in speed. If there is a significant decline, a virus, a hacker or negative SEO is likely infecting your website. Any negative SEO strategy requires a detailed crawling. This strains the server and causes sites even to crash.

Speed is a ranking factor for all search engines. You should content your website hosting provider immediately after you notice any abnormal activity on your domain.

Is there any sudden change in content?

Google dislikes duplicate content. Ever since content marketing has become one of the more prominent ways to rank for keywords, some SEOs have started using the “copy-cat” technique to mooch off content from their contenders.

Yes, content is still king. That is exactly why you should keep an eye out for any other website (even ones with more authority) stealing your content. Attackers are likely to copy-paste content from your site onto theirs, to push you down the rung.

Check your CTR

Click-through rate or CTR is a signifier of site popularity. It will show whether you are reaching out to the right crowd. If you see a sharp fall in your website CTR, without any sound reason, you can safely assume something is not correct. A high bounce rate or a deficient dwell time is also a signifier of an ongoing negative SEO attack.

Most of the times, negative SEO attacks do not come to notice unless there is a significant loss of traffic and revenue. By then, the hackers are already knee deep in website metadata and big data. That is why you should begin safeguarding your site from such hacks and attacks by investing in professional security. If necessary, get a professional team of SEO and DBAs who can say how you can beef up your site security.