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What Is Negative SEO and What Can You Do To Combat It?

What is SEO? Okay, so that’s quite an ambiguous question, but many businesses still treat Search Engine Optimization like it’s some kind of mythical Shangri-La, so it’s well worth touching on.

In its simplest form SEO is a series of activities undertaken to increase a site’s search engine visibility and performance, but it’s also so much more than that. Perhaps that’s why there are still a lot of small businesses out there who are unsure of where to start when it comes to SEO.

However, just because you’re not doing something, that doesn’t make you immune to it. Sometimes site owners will use a type of SEO designed not to improve their own search engine rankings but to harm those of a competing websites. Negative SEO can have serious ramifications on sites that aren’t prepared for it or those who are unable to identify and rectify it should it happen.

What is Negative SEO?

To sum it up in one sentence, Negative SEO is any malicious activity undertaken in an effort to lower a website’s search engine rankings. Sites have been known to use this technique on their competition in order to rank higher for certain keywords.

Although there’s been a lot of talk about negative SEO and its subsequent effects lately, it’s worth noting that negative SEO is not actually a new process. People have been employing suspect tactics across the web for as long as there’s been a web to use them on.

That being said, it’s not as rampant a risk as many expect, and it can be an incredibly costly (in both time and money) process to undertake. In many aspects, when people believe they have been “hit by negative SEO” it’s highly likely that they are just suffering from something they have failed to notice or change on their own site.  

Google’s algorithms are constantly changing; which means that more often than not what people suspect to be the effects of “negative SEO” are actually caused by old links which have lost their value or old, stale content on their site holding them back against their competitors.

It’s still important to remember that some people do still carry out negative SEO though. Knowing what you should be looking out for will allow you to identify the signs early and deal with the problem accordingly.

What to look out for

Google’s algorithms analyse and inspect every website they come across, looking at what’s happening both on-site and off, and which sites are linking back and forth. Those sites with suspicious link profiles are at risk of seeing their search engine rankings drop.

One common negative SEO tactic is to purchase a large quantity of unnatural, spammy backlinks for a site. This kind of link behaviour is highly frowned upon by search engines, as it gives the impression that you’re trying to manipulate your own site’s PageRank.

Another tactic is the scraping of content. Copying and pasting one site’s content onto a number of other sites across the web can cause serious duplicate content issues. Search engines will flag that your content is not unique, and unless the original source of the content is abundantly clear, it will have a damaging effect on your site.

What can you do about it?

Whilst it may seem like there is little you can do to properly protect your site from negative SEO, you’re not completely defenceless.

For example, if a competitor really wants to carry out negative SEO against your site then it takes a lot of dedication and investment on their part for it to actually have a serious effect. If you stay vigilant you can recognise the warning signs of it happening and work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

To begin with, make sure you regularly check Google Analytics for any anomalies. Create custom alerts for when you have any sharp increases or decreases in traffic, and for when you see any extreme increases in your sites bounce rate.

You should also regularly perform an in-depth audit of your inbound links. You should regularly check your link profile to ensure that that they’re relevant to your site and that they use suitable anchor text.

Use backlink analysis tools like Majestic SEO to identify any anomalies in your link profile. Whilst most of the backlinks you’ll receive will probably be perfectly natural, if you do notice any strange activity you can work to remove or disavow the links, through the Google Disavow Tool.

Also, check your anchor text ratio.  If you spot a large number of links with exact match anchor text, then it’s well worth looking into, as search engines tend to find this kind of behaviour suspicious. Try to ensure that no more than 10-20% of your anchor text is made up of exact-match keywords and that at least 50% is branded.

People spend a lot of time creating high-quality content, so it can be disheartening to find your content copied across the web. You can use tools like Copyscape to check if your content has been plagiarised by other websites.

While you can’t directly protect yourself from the effects of Negative SEO, it’s well worth knowing what to look out for. With basic knowledge of the above you’ll be able to monitor your site and work quickly to remedy the situation should any issues arise.

Ben Norman is a leading UK SEO Expert with an extensive knowledge of search engine marketing. He regularly writes straightforward search related posts for his SEO blog.

Backlinks

Have you ever wondered how to get backlinks to rank a new site in a proper manner that Google loves? Getting your websites ranked on the front page of Google is everyone’s dream so that you can receive free traffic to your site. I know some of the people do have other traffic sources apart from Google, having organic traffic will be a bonus on top of various traffic sources. Eventually, who else does not like free traffic to their site?

SEO is a combination of on page and off page effort. If you are not sure what I refer to, I strongly urge you to read my previous posts about on page SEO and off page SEO. In this post, I am not going to repeat various backlink sources that you can get from my previous post, but to focus on the process to get your site ranked on the front page of Google. There are literally endless sites that you can generate backlinks to your sites. Without a proper backlinking process, you might be struggling to rank your site and might even risk your site get sandbox or penalty by Google.

Process About How To Get Backlinks

Before you start the SEO link building campaign, you must ensure you have done your on page SEO, else you will have to spend multiple times of the effort to get your site ranked on the front page of Google.

5 Reasons Nobody Is Reading Your Company Blog

By now, most business owners realize the benefits of having a company blog. A company blog can help bring traffic to your site, give insight into your company’s culture, and it’s an overall great inbound marketing technique. Unfortunately, a lot of companies aren’t getting the results from their blogs that they expected. The reason why? Well to put it simple, they’re not doing it right!

Here are 5 reasons your company blog might be lacking:

1- It’s too promotional

Is the only time you post on your company blog when you have something new to promote? If so you’re making a big mistake. It’s tempting to think of a company blog as just another advertising avenue but you have to resist those urges.

An occasional post about REAL company news is fine, but when every post is about a new product or pushing customers to buy from you, you might be overdoing it. Treat your company blog like a regular blog; Seek to inform rather than to promote.

2- Your blog posts are soulless

Nobody wants to read a boring blog. A lot of companies are worried about looking unprofessional on their blogs so they tend to be overly-cautious. By definition, entrepreneurs are risk takers. Don’t chicken out when it comes to your blog.

You can create content that is enjoyable while still maintaining a certain level of professionalism. Breathe some life and personality into your blog by writing in a casual tone instead of being too formal. Don’t be afraid to throw a contraction in there every now and then or speak directly to your readers instead of writing in 3rdperson.

3- People can’t find it!

Just like any other website on the internet, if nobody can find your blog, then they nobody will read it. The problem with your company blog might not be the content, it could just be that it’s impossible to find. Luckily this is an easy fix.

Whenever a new post is published, get all the employees to share it on social media. Tweet it, Pin it, and post it everywhere possible to get the word out. If it’s a good post, it will spread naturally once it hits social media.

Another step you should take is to make sure your blog is optimized for search engines. SEO has become somewhat of a buzz word these days with the growing importance of internet marketing. You don’t have to become an SEO expert, but simple things like including relevant search terms in articles can go a long way. You can also use these DIY SEO techniques to help promote your blog posts.

4- The last post is from 2001

People don’t enjoy reading dead blogs that haven’t been updated in years. You should aim to post on your company blog regularly. Even if it means outsourcing content creation, a blog that’s updated regularly has a higher chance of building an audience.

Updating your blog is actually a lot easier than most people realize. Every blog post doesn’t have to be 1,000 words long. You can post a summary of industry news and link to your source for the full story. If you can get the entire company involved in blogging, you’ll have an endless stream of content to post. Google has employees from different departments post on their company blog which creates diversity and continuous content.

Have a set number of blog posts that you want to publish each week and try to post on the same days every week to help create a routine.

5- There’s only text

Humans have developed very short attention spans. Expecting people to read through a bunch of 500 word articles with nothing but words is wishful thinking. Blog posts need images, video, and structure in order to break the monotony of reading a huge wall of text.

Break blog posts into different sections with subheadings. You should also use bulleted lists and relatively short paragraphs (3-5 sentences each). What this does is make blog posts easier to scan which is what people do when they read.

You should also try to add a mixture of media to spice things up a bit. Use videos, infographics, interviews, and other types of content instead of solely relying on text articles.

Start getting more out of your company blog. Just like every other aspect of your business, you’ll only get out what you put into it.

Dominique Jackson is a freelance writer, internet marketer, techie, and entrepreneur. You can read his blogfor business tips, tech news, and general awesomeness.