One of the foremost concerns of B2B marketers is improving the web discoverability of their websites to help them achieve the desired bottom-line business goals. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving the reach of the website to the prospects or simply its discoverability across the search engines. So far, so good. You are doing SEO to boost your organic traffic and completing your endeavors with some paid advertising.
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But are the real-world scenarios so easy to perfect? I mean think about this, you do have competitors and let’s face it in the competition age of modern times, they can and will, for obvious reasons try their best to ruin your rankings.
Your website traffic can go for a toss within the blink of an eye if you don’t know what standard negative SEO practices are and what to do to combat them. It's better to figure out what's cooking in your competitors' minds before they make you encounter distaste with dropping website rankings.
Negative SEO can be defined as a group of deteriorative strategies that your competitors may conspire to lower the ranking of your website and pieces of content on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Common SEO attacks that qualify under negative SEO often include off-page tactics such as building unnatural links to a website and stealing and reposting its content in disguise (sometimes also confused with content syndication).
So while negative SEO can’t be the only reason for the fall in your SEO rankings, you can always keep a check on them to avoid any possible occurrences.
Understand the Malicious Dark Realm of Negative SEO to Combat It
Good SEO is definitely an invincible asset for your website. In the words of blogger Jill Whalen, Transformational Consultant at Jill Whalen Consulting good SEO can help you sustain your website's organic rankings amidst the constant changes in the Google search rank algorithms:
“Good SEO work only gets better with time. It only searches engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.”
Negative SEO often leads to devastating aftermaths even if the rankings are unaffected. It can adversely impact your branding and omnichannel reputation management endeavors.
Many people confuse negative SEO with black hat SEO. The two terminologies bear entirely different meanings though. Negative SEO refers to a set of remote, often daunting and deteriorative SEO practices by your competitors aimed at costing you the organic rankings in your SEO space.
The negative SEO definition includes activities such as content strapping, building spammy and unnatural links to the website and also practices such as hacking of the website.
Black hat SEO, on the other hand, refers to the unethical practices, violating the guidelines of search engines to improve the rank of a website or a page on the search engines. These practices are often executed by the owners of the websites themselves or someone having a legitimate authority in this regard, unlike the negative SEO game played by your competitors.
The dark art of negative SEO includes purchasing hundreds or thousands of spammy links using all sorts of different software.
The process called disavow SEO can be used to monitor and discard the harmful links. Marketers can use Google Search Console to disavow links.
With negative SEO comes the corruption of data that are employed to make decisions about the search results. Negative SEO in the form of bad links will push your data over the permissible limit of the number of links in the Google Search Console (GSC). Negative SEO causes bad links to outnumber the good ones, resulting in an increased cost to data visualization.
Content duplication or copied content is another most common negative SEO tactic. Syndicating content to a number of third-party content syndication websites is one thing while copied content costs you your website traffic which is unnecessarily diverted to third-party websites.
Negative SEO not only adversely impacts rankings but internal links too, get converted to syndicated links.
Nofollowe malware links found in User-Generated Content (UGC) and hacked content (when your competitor injects HTML on a part of the page on your website) are the lesser-known negative SEO malaises.
Apart from risking your revenue, negative SEO also runs you to a situation of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, i.e. FUD.
With negative SEO practices not only is involved the risk of being penalized by the search engines in terms of organic rankings, but there’s also an additional situation created where your SEO is totally ineffective and just wouldn’t work.
The following tactics can help marketers fight back against the negative SEO tactics put to play:
1. Creating Canonical burn pages
Suppose there’s a page on your website that you want to rank and is very important for your business. It might have the information pertaining to your products or services or any other critical information.
In such a situation marketers need to create another version of the original page with a canonical link pointing back to the original one. All your link-building should be directed to the canonical page.
A canonical burn page is an excellent answer to the negative SEO practitioners. Suppose somebody is doing negative SEO. They can either do it for the page that’s ranking or the page that’s getting linked to. Normally the page ranking falls prey to negative SEO. When this happens, marketers can remove that page, retaining just the canonical burn page which doesn’t have any negative links.
In case the negative SEO practitioners target your canonical burn page, marketers can remove that page, retaining just the original page. In such a situation, your hard-earned links might be sacrificed but that SEO hopes alive for the future, nonetheless.
2. Stop your Content Thieves with Embedded Style Attribution
Your content thieves might not be copying your CSS stylesheet. Get these sheets published to all of your competitor websites. Make sure the published content has big and catchy fonts with the author's name on it or with some interesting phrases.
This strategy often scares and frustrates your content thieves and prevent them from doing the deed.
3. Track the links pointing to Your Website
Track real, good-quality links and add them to your link list. You can do this with the help of Moz's Link Explorer, having a functionality called Link Lists.
Keeping a track record of good links can help you easily demarcate the bad ones being fetched by a negative SEO campaign. This strategy helps figure out what’s actually being ignored by Google, amongst the links that matter most to you. Thus, it helps combat the negative SEO game.
Wrapping Things Up
You can be hit by a negative SEO tactic anytime. Therefore, care should be taken to keep yourselves geared up to face any adversity that arises. Your SEO practices even in the worst scenarios shouldn't be halted altogether.
Using data-driven SEO practices keep marketers from falling prey to negative SEO and keeps the critical data safe for taking data-driven decisions. While it’s not possible to determine with absolute certainty whether the fall in the organic rankings is because of negative SEO or any other reason, marketers must always be prepared to fight negative SEO scenarios.
Remember organic SEO is amongst the most inexpensive and effective ways to optimize organic rankings and hence it is important for marketers to keep it certain by avoiding the negative SEO practices. Also, the tactic pays off to keep paid advertising and other forms of advertising only reasonably valuable.
Valasys Media is a one-stop B2B service provider, leveraging pro-level expertise to help marketers minimize their marketing investment and yet scale-up their revenue games. Our hyper-tailored services include Event Marketing, Content Syndication, Lead Generation, Contact Discovery, Account-Based Marketing, Lead Nurturing & Appointment Setting services to help marketers continually improve their marketing endeavors.