Negative SEO Tactics in 2018: How to Fix Your Site After It Is Attacked
by Shafas KS
Negative SEO |How to Fix Your Site After It Is Attacked.
In the field of digital marketing, there are competitors willing to wreak havoc on your site. This would result in making their own site more visible to search engines, more effective conversion and sales vehicles. As a set of tactics, negative SEO is not new. Negative SEO is there since the beginning of the industry. The procedures used today have grown and the digital marketers who hire them are increasingly knowledgeable.
What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO is the practice of using black hat, unethical techniques to sabotage a competitor’s rankings in search engines. The Negative SEO is a risk you should always prepare for even before launching a website for your company. Negative SEO attacks can take a number of different forms:
- Hacking your website.
- Building hundreds or thousands of spammy links to your website.
- Copying your content and distributing it all over the internet.
- Pointing links to your website using keywords like Viagra, poker online etc.
- Creating fake social profiles and ruining your reputation online.
- Removing the best backlinks your website has.
Is Negative SEO A Threat?
Yes, Negative SEO is a real threat and numerous websites have had to deal with this problem. Preventing it is much easier than fixing it. If a search is conducted on Fiverr for “negative SEO,” you will find over 15,000 people willing to do for only $5. Furthermore, black hat forums are full of stories from people who have succeeded with this technique.
Google released the Disavow Tool to help webmasters deal with negative SEO, but the tool should be used with caution and only as a last resort. It usually takes 2-4 weeks for the tool to work.
Before we get into the negative SEO tactics, a tactic is there that would be exploited more in 2018. It is the fake negative reviews and social signals. Bots generated comments are inescapable. They have overrun the comment threads on news websites and Facebook feeds.
Bots are employed so that they could create negative buzz around undeserving products and services. Fake reviews have blurred the line between truth and fiction to a degree where the differences are indistinguishable on some platforms.
How to Combat Fake Reviews and Social Signals
- Collect product reviews: Motivate your customers to submit reviews of your products, services on Google and also on other trusted review sites.
- Post customer reviews: You could post customer reviews on your website is from a site called TrustPilot. You can integrate TrustPilot with your website; send emails to customers encouraging them to review your products or services.
- Audit reviews: Deciding whether a review is fake or not is not so difficult. Fake reviews consists a lot of hints telling that they are fake. If you think that reviews on any site are fake, contact the website owner and explain why the review is not authentic. They may not remove it, but they may give you the opportunity to respond.
- Respond to reviews: Respond to every review if you believe if it is fake or not. Google includes responses to reviews into their algorithm, so a positive response to a negative review can yield positive effects. In addition, it shows your customers that you want to make good on bad customer experiences.
- Claim social profiles on social platforms: If you do not wish to use these prominent platforms, own your brand on places like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. You could use it on every platform that is widely used in your field.
- Never purchase fake reviews: Never think of using a service like Fiverr to generate reviews. There are over 100 offers to post Google Local Reviews from people who have never purchased your products or services. There are possibilities that they do not live in a ZIP code your business services.
Types Of Negative SEO To Watch Out
1.Off Page Negative SEO:
An off-page negative SEO is when attacker affects your website without directly interfering with it. It is very easy to do as the attacker need not be the website owner. Here are some of the most common negative SEO spam attacks commonly known:
There will always be bad links to your page. You can be affected when somebody starts linking back from interconnected sites known as link building farms, and keeps doing. These links use a specific anchor which can be one of your most important keywords. They try to fool the search engines you are trying to manipulate rankings in search results. The anchor may also be a keyword that is not related to your website but it may be harmful to it.
Search engines do not like duplicate content. Websites that are informative and original rank higher in search results. The attacker will copy and paste your website content all over the web. This would result in creating hundreds and thousands of duplicates and search engines will start ignoring you.
Google bot can access your website to index your pages and update your ranking constantly. If it is unable to crawl your website, you may have a problem. There are attacks that are trying to crash your website so that the bot cannot able to access it anymore.
d.Fake social media profiles:
A competitor can hurt your business by means of social media. They could do so by creating fake social media profiles under your own name and spreading false information through them. Your customers or followers may be fooled by these false profiles. This would and affect your business in many different ways, mostly negative.
2.On Page Negative SEO:
The on page negative SEO attacks are difficult to implement as they involve hacking and getting access to the administration panel. Be aware of such attacks as it can occur at any time, especially if you are not updating your CMS regularly. These attacks could hurt your website and inevitable your business in the following ways:
a.They can modify your content:
Especially on websites powered by WordPress that were not updated for a few months or even years. Sometimes the hackers are running scripts from the “header” or “footer” templates. They just post some articles that may appear as they were published by a website administrator. Some attackers may disguise their content under different scripts in the HTML file such as “display: none”. In such cases, you will not know anything unless you look at the HTML code once in awhile. It is very difficult to do so. So you should manage several websites that comprise thousands of templates and script files.
b.They can get your website de-indexed:
They could do so by changing your robots.txt file from the server. If they want to harm you, they might hire a professional hacker. That hacker would exploit vulnerabilities from your hosting or content management system.
c.Complete hacking of the website:
This will completely replace your website with another web page. Moreover, that web page may contain a message, some visuals or nothing at all.
Common Negative SEO Tactics
In Negative SEO tactics, it is important to know to monitor against attacks, what to do if your site is targeted.
1.Removal of High-Quality Links:
This is one of the mostly used negative SEO tactics. This tactic is less effective today because advancements to Google’s linking algorithm make bad links less damaging than before.
How it happens: The attacker creates a network of links on low-quality sites to lower your site’s domain authority. In addition, agents may use anchor text that includes your money keywords. Agents would reach out to those high-quality sites and try to get your links changed or removed.
How to remain safe: Audit your backlinks using tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs and Google Search Console. Look large increases in backlinks and referring domains. Make sure that your high-quality links still exist. If your site is attacked, inform Google of the links you wish to have them ignore using the disavow links tool.
2.Distributed Denial-of-Service Attacks:
The goal is to repeatedly crawl your site to make it difficult for your customers to use, difficult for Google to crawl, and ultimately take it offline due to heavy server load.
How it happens: with the help of automated crawlers, an agent sends a heavy load of traffic to your site to crash it. If Google cannot reach your site and easily crawl it, your visibility will decline. In addition, the real traffic won’t come back due to the poor site experience.
How to remain safe: Keep track of your site’s speed. If your site is slowing down and there are no onsite technical issues. Then your hosting company should review server logs to determine the source of traffic. If you determine that traffic load is crashing your site, block those nefarious crawlers with your robots.txt and .htaccess.
If your site uses WordPress, there are security measures you should take. Plugins like Wordfence can track traffic sources by IP and country and block them. So, consider moving to a more secure, managed hosting provider like WPEngine or Cloudflare. These offer unmetered DDOS attack mitigation, so no matter how large the attack is, your site is covered.
If you are a manufacturer or distributor of popular products, content you get from a manufacturer may show in Copyscape. To make your content more valuable to Google, it needs to be unique and useful.
How it happens: A tool is utilized to copy your site’s pages and recreate them on another domain. A scraped site may start performing well if Google determines it has some quality link signals pointing to it.
How to remain safe: Use the tool such as Copyscape in order to know if copies of your site exist. If you find that sites are recreating a single page or more of your website, contact the webmaster. Ask them to remove it. If that does not work, report the scraping site using Google’s copyright infringement report.
4.Remove your site from Google:
If you have noticed that your site is harmed. You feel that it should be rectified then, remove your site from Google.
How it happens: When a working relationship is terminated, consultant makes changes to the website that change Google’s access to the site. It involves changing rules in the robots.txt file to disallow bots from crawling the website. If your site is verified with Google Search Console, this same person could remove your site from Google’s index. Be cautious of disgruntled employees who voluntarily leave a company. As these people are the types of people who perform these damaging changes.
How to remain safe: Audit your organic traffic and rankings frequently. Check traffic several times a week using Google Analytics or similar tool. Rankings can be checked manually in a browser. You can use the site command to see how many of your pages are indexed by Google. If your site is verified with Google Search Console, navigate to Google Index > Remove URLs. If a request is made in the past 90 days, you will see it here if you are a verified owner.
Remove URLs in Google Analytics: When an employee or the outside dealer, Remove their access. As you feel suspected that they may harm your business when they are let go. Never turn over ownership of a site to a third-party agency. Give them enough access to tools without making them an owner of a tool like Google Search Console.
Hacks that are code injection, redirecting traffic, information theft can take shape a variety of different ways. Hacks are frequently carried out with no negative SEO purpose in mind. If Google discovers that your site has been hacked, they display a message in search results. That is communicated to searchers that your site has been compromised and may not be safe.
How it happens:
A hacker gains access to your website through a security flaw in your website, hosting environment or database. Once an entry is gained, malicious activities are performed including theft of credit card, personal information and redirect traffic to other domains. There are hundreds of different tactics that can be employed once your site is breached.
How to remain safe:
Keep your site’s software up to date. Install security tools on your website. If you are not using HTTPS, the time has come to make the switch. Google is now warning searchers in the browser if the site they are on is not secure.
This can discourage people from staying on your site. Although there is some work in migrating to HTTPS, The investment is worth it. It would help in adding more encryption to the data your site collects. Furthermore, do not forget to lock down any directory and file permissions. But most importantly, use secure passwords.
I believe that this article has helped you with the information on Negative SEO Tactics in 2018: How to Fix Your Site After It Is Attacked. If you have any doubt regarding this topic, please make sure to comment, the professional techies at Dotz Web Technologies are always happy to help you. Dotz Web Technologies is one of the topmost Digital marketing and App Development company. We offer high-quality service in Web Design and development, SEO, Web Hosting, App Development and Social Media Marketing. We are one of the top Web Design Company in India.
February 23, 2018