You’ve likely heard of SEO (search engine optimization) and how it can help your website rank higher in search engines. While you should be participating in positive SEO endeavors, you’ll want to stay away from negative SEO. But, what is negative SEO exactly? Believe it or not, it’s a fairly common problem—and one that you can avoid with the right strategies.
What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO is the practice of trying to diminish a competitor’s website ranking in order to improve your own. For the record, Google strongly disapproves of this tactic. It’s much better to focus on improving your own SEO than trying to decrease that of another site.
That being said, there are a few common negative SEO tactics that you may see unreputable companies or digital marketing agencies apply.
- Link attacks – Websites may use links from your website on website farms using exact match anchor text in a spammy way. While this may seem a bit confusing, it makes it seem like you’re either buying links from sites or spamming sites that have nothing to do with your industry just to get links. Google frowns upon both practices.
- Duplicating content – Also known as scraping, sometimes companies will take your site’s content and post it around other places on the web. When Google crawls your site to index it, they’ll see that you have duplicate content to other sites and may penalize you for it.
- Hacking – This is a classic technique. However, in today’s world of heightened cybersecurity, fewer sites have to worry about being hacked. Those that do often find spammy links on their site and content that the hacker has changed. They may even lose access to their site entirely.
How Can You Avoid Negative SEO?
Now that you’ve got a handle on what negative SEO is and some examples of tactics, you’ll want to do your best to protect yourself from these outside attacks. Use these tips to avoid getting penalized for negative SEO:
- Constantly monitor your backlinks for anything suspicious
- Keep an eye on your analytics to see if there’s a large drop or sudden, suspicious spike in traffic so you can catch an attack quickly
- Run your website through Copyscape or a similar plagiarism tool to see if anyone is scraping your content
- Make sure your site is secure using an https domain
- Work with an agency that can monitor your site and prepare for these attacks
While there’s no way to stop shady companies from performing negative SEO on your site, catching it quickly and knowing how to recover will ensure the health of your website.
Ensure Your SEO Efforts with Dreamscape Marketing
So, what is negative SEO doing to your site? If you know your site isn’t performing well as a result of negative SEO (or just a lack of SEO), it’s time to look into what you can do to ramp up your current digital marketing strategy. At Dreamscape Marketing in Columbia, MD, we’re a full-service digital marketing agency that offers the strategies you need. We can work with your company on any of the following: