One of the reasons I love working online and running a website is that it lets me mind my own business. I’ve never been one for office politics and I hate the idea of having a ‘boss’ so I’ve never been particularly partial to working your typical office job. As such then, I also don’t appreciate it when my work as a blogger starts to turn political and the whole thing starts to degrade into something like a schoolyard shouting match. Isn’t that the kind of thing lots of us are trying to avoid?
Unfortunately though where there’s money to be made there will always be those willing to resort to unscrupulous methods, and to try to blow out our candle to make theirs blow brighter. This is where ‘negative SEO’ comes in – which is the point at which bloggers stop concentrating on themselves and on offering a great site, and instead start thinking about how they can get ahead by taking down the competition and getting their sites penalized. Find yourself a victim then and you can see your website drop from the top spot in the SERPs to page eight and even see your content and design ruined. It’s unsettling, it’s unfair and it can potentially cost you a lot of money.
But there are ways to defend yourself – to fight back and to stop the problem happening in the first place. Here we will look at some of them so you won’t be unarmed in this battle.
Dealing With Negative Links
The main form of negative SEO is unwanted link building. Here a competitor will build links to your site without your permission that come from untrustworthy sources or pages that are irrelevant to your content. This is bad news because Google will see your site as attempting to spam them and as such they might penalize you by forcing your page down the SERPs.
Your first line of defence against this kind of action is to check your webstats regularly. This means making sure that keep looking for new links, and it means looking for any fluctuations in traffic. The sooner you spot an attack, the sooner you can do something about it.
Next is to contact the webmasters. The person whose site your link is on probably had nothing to do with it and will simply have allowed a competitor to post your link their automatically. Approach them politely and ask them to remove the links and they should be compliant. Repeat this for every webmaster. Better yet, you may be able to get some details from them of the person who submitted your link – in which case you have your culprit and can fight back.
Failing this, you might then want to try and use Google’s new disavow links tool which will allow you to submit a list of links that you don’t want Google to take into account when deciding on your positioning. This takes a while but it will normally be a successful way to get back in the game.
Dealing With Other Forms of Negative SEO
There are many other ways a webmaster can attack you – for instance by getting you banned from AdSense by continually clicking on your ads in which case your options are to switch ad network or to try contacting Google and explaining what has happened.
Another even more distressing form of attack is hacking which can actually break your site or damage your reputation. Of course your best defence against hacking is to have strict security protocols and to speak with your webhost. Make sure too that you always have an up-to-date backup of your site so that you can easily undo the damage.
Attached Images: License: Creative Commons image source
James Sax is a well-known blogger and an avid facebook user. He works as a SEO manager for Link Wheeler – a firm dedicated to provide the best SEO services that also includes Link Wheel related services.