Negative SEO is the process of pointing low value, spam links at a competitor’s website with the end goal of having your competitor’s website penalized by the search engines and removed from the search results. The recent changes Google has made to its search algorithm has made it possible for webmasters to conduct negative SEO on their competitors because now these low value links are counting against a website’s backlink profile instead of just being ignored all together.
While it is rather scary to think about a competitor being able to negatively affect your business by spamming your website with thousands of backlinks, there are some steps you can take in order to prevent becoming a victim of negative SEO.
Create a Google Webmaster Account
The first step you should take in order to prevent becoming a victim of negative SEO is to create a Google Webmaster account. This account will allow you to see a wealth of information about your website including whether or not your website has an unnatural backlink profile. Constantly monitoring your Google Webmaster account is easy when you set up email alerts. You can receive these alerts on a daily, weekly or monthly basis depending on your preference.
Creating a Google Alert for your website that will notify you whenever a new backlink is create for your website around the Internet will help you monitor when your site receives new links. When you create one of these alerts and you start to see a dramatic increase in the number of links being built in a short period of time, you can address the issue through your Google Webmaster account and their new Disavow Tool.
In addition to setting up a Google Alert that will notify you when Google finds new backlinks for your website, you will want to create alerts through your Google Analytics account. These alerts should be focused on your traffic numbers, conversion rate and bounce rate.
Through your Google Analytics account, you can set up an alert that will notify you via email when your website has seen a large decrease in traffic, lower than usual conversion rates and an increase in your bounce rate, all of which can be indicators that your website has been the victim of negative SEO.
Track your Backlinks
While setting up a Google Webmaster account and various alerts through Google Analytics and Google Alert is a good method to monitor the overall health of your website, the very best way to prevent someone from performing negative SEO on your site is to monitor your backlinks through a service such as Ahrefs or Majestic SEO.
These services will provide you with detailed reports of the domains that are linking to your website, which will make it easy for you to spot when a large number of spam links are being used as part of a negative SEO campaign against your website. Carefully monitoring your backlink profile will help you stay on top of the types of links that are being built for your site.
While the recent algorithm updates being rolled out by Google are effectively providing Internet users with better quality search results, the entire process has not been completely ironed out by Google quite yet. Through negative SEO, unethical webmasters could point a large quantity of spam links to your website in an effort to get your website removed from the search results. However, by taking proactive steps such as setting up a Google Webmaster account, Google Alerts and tracking your backlink profile, you can help prevent negative SEO from harming your website before it is too late.
Richard H. WordPress master, blogger, writer. He works for Samuelson Hause & Samuelson optimizing their website for better ranking. Enjoys rollerblading and photography in his spare time.