What is Negative Local SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | January 22, 2015

Negative SEO can impact a website in many ways and cause different degrees of subsequent damage overall if applied to a rival’s website. These ill-conceived methods are employed to encourage search engines to punish a certain site for incorporating ‘black hat SEO’ methods when in fact they haven’t. Google will potentially black list the perpetrators discovered using these risky negative SEO techniques, not to mention getting sued for losses.

Reputable and honest SEO companies would never dream of using these kinds of shady tactics. However, the problem continues to grow.

Here are some of the most common tactics that negative SEO perpetrators use:

• Purchasing links and then pointing them to their competitor’s site in an attempt to negatively impact their rankings in the search engines
• Reporting a rival’s black hat SEO techniques
• Perform website hacking to impact a website’s organic SEO methods
• Review bombing by manually listing multiple five-star reviews on their competitor’s website making it appear as if they paid for their fake reviews

Lately, more and more local businesses have come forward to express their worries that these malicious methods have been employed against them and that they’re hurting their brand and reputation. However, there are a few ways in which you can protect your website against any of these negative SEO techniques.

• If you are impacted by paid links that you never really purchased, but you straighten out the matter rather quickly, Google won’t hold you responsible.
• Build a strong authority and boost your popularity regarding your website and you’ll be less likely to be impacted in a negative manner.
• Continually monitor the metrics for your site in order to identify any big changes that may occur.
• Utilize rel=canonical tags in order to protect your authorship regarding your content and to decrease the probability of any issues regarding duplicate content that may result in getting your snippets removed from the search results.
• Keep your sitemaps as current as possible to ensure they’re properly linked to your web-management accounts so that all your new content is getting spidered regularly.
• Be vigilant about any unnatural links that suddenly appear. The webmaster tools in Google make this process very easy to quickly recognize any spammy links. Next, use the disavow tool in order to quickly remove the significance of the links to your backlink profile. In the end, if the problem continues, contact Google for advice on how to straighten it out.
• Use Google alerts to stay on top of the latest feedback concerning your site or if you believe there’s been any reviews improperly generated or a great deal posted over a very short period of time. Be sure to report the issues.

Has your website been hacked?

It’s imperative to protect your site against malicious hackers. They’re expertly skilled in overriding your webpage’s security so they can proceed to hack your site and lower its overall quality, insert hidden text, insert links, change your content, and eventually get Google’s algorithm to penalize you in the end. In such a case, getting hacked doesn’t mean compromising private data, but rather to manipulate your site in such a way that it actually works against you.

Hackers might also insert multiple hidden links and anchor texts on your website. They could also spam your meta tags with illogical, irrelevant keywords or they may incorporate inappropriate content and images on your site as well.

Negative SEO does exist.

Negative SEO is a real and serious threat. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you consider and prepare for the possibility of your site getting hacked very seriously. Sadly, there are many individuals out there that just want to hack into other sites just because they think it’s fun, and because they can.

Like the saying goes, prevention is the key and it’s better than the cure. But, in the case of maintaining a healthy website, prevention means serious preparation. There are, in fact, many things you can do to protect the integrity of your website and keep hackers at bay.