What is negative SEO and why should you fight against it?

Jonatan Botello

Do you know what Negative SEO is? Maybe someone has explained that it is a detrimental technique to your interests and you don’t want to take the risk of having problems in your SEO strategy. In this post, I will try to explain everything about this subject, so you can understand what you can and can’t do.

The aspiration of all online entrepreneurs who have a website is to have the maximum number of visitors, so they can become more influential and  generate conversions.

It’s the most normal thing in the world. Otherwise, it would not make sense to work so hard to attract visitors.

To attract visitors to your online business, several alternatives are available to anyone, but one of the most common and recommended technique is the creation of an SEO strategy.

Working with SEO, you can improve web ranking, so that search engines such as Google will bring you the visitors you need.

To do that, many SEO tools can help you to find relevant keywords for your niche.

It’s what everyone else does; it’s what you should do too.

However, like everything else in life, SEO has its dark side, that many pretend to ignore, but the truth is that there is a dark world of questionable practices.

In fact, the dark part of SEO strategies can become very harmful if you start applying these techniques in your marketing actions.

And these dark techniques have a name: negative SEO.

Negative SEO, in all its forms, can end up being fatal to your interests.

Worst of all is that you may be using these techniques right now on your site, without you being aware of it, if you don’t know how to fight against these attacks.

To give you an idea, I’ll ask you some questions that may explain some factors you may not have considered so far:

  1. Did you have a sudden drop in visitor numbers?
  2. Your site has been hacked recently, but have you been able to recover it?
  3. Have you noticed many unexpected problems with your server?
  4. Is your site too slow?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, possibly negative SEO techniques are affecting your site.

But what is negative SEO? What factors condition this situation? How to face it? What other situations could we find?

To answer all these questions, we will begin by explaining a few concepts and relevant factors.

What is negative SEO?

Negative SEO is an attack produced by your competitors, with the intention that you would lose relevance in the web using improper or illegal techniques in the eyes of search engines.

It sounds cruel, but it’s the truth.

You should keep in mind that, unfortunately, many entrepreneurs try to damage the strategies of their competitors, due to their own frustration at not being able to achieve their goals.

Of course, if you are being attacked with negative SEO techniques, you can at least try to console yourself with the fact that your success is troubling your competitors, because they would not waste their time and resources trying to attack someone, they don’t see as a rival, as someone potentially dangerous and that is threatening their marketing strategy.

Although yes, you will have to go to the battlefield and fight if you want to save your business.

It is true that those who practice negative SEO are not ethical or worthy of being called partners in the industry, but like everything in life, you can’t expect everyone to respect the rules.

At this time, you certainly have many doubts and are insecure, because if you don’t know what it is and you don’t know exactly how they are doing this, what can you do to combat these techniques?

Many people believe there is only one option for working with negative SEO, but in reality, there is a myriad of illicit techniques that these people are continually improving.

But what negative SEO techniques are there? I’ll explain it to you now.

Negative SEO techniques you should understand to know how to combat them.

There are many negative SEO techniques, but fortunately, there are also alternatives to fight against them.

It’s just a matter of studying a little and knowing what has to be done and which technique was used against you to act accordingly.

You can always hire an SEO specialist, but if you can do it yourself; it will be much better, don’t you think so?

If you can’t devote the necessary time to study these techniques, don’t worry, at least I’ll explain the methods that are generally used in negative SEO attacks. With this information, you will know how to act, but you will also understand the problem, and therefore you will be able to explain your case in more detail for the professional you are hiring.

First of all, I strongly recommend that you have Search Console correctly configured, to notify you of any anomaly.

To configure Search Console correctly, for the system to notify you of any “strange” situation, you should follow these steps:

  1. Access profile preferences
  2. Click “Enable email notifications.”

After completing these steps, you can get almost all the information that you will need to solve any problem if something abnormal happens.

That said, these are the negative SEO t niques you should know:

► Overloading server resources

This type of negative SEO attack consists of sending a massive number of requests per second to the server, making its resources obsolete.

This practice is usually done through pages that generate visits automatically, or using scripts.

How to avoid that?

To avoid that problem, in the first place, you should have your website cached. This way, you can delete unnecessary data instantly.

You can also enable HOTlink on your server. With these two methods, in theory, you would solve the problem.

Website hacked

► Website hacked

It is not an exaggeration; someone could hack your website without you noticing the attack, due to some vulnerability, such as outdated templates or plugins if you work with WordPress.

By exploiting this vulnerability, hackers could access your site and destroy your business in a few minutes.

These offenders generally use the Kali-Linux tool to detect sites with vulnerabilities. If your competitors want to attack you, you will have to be prepared to defend your business. If you don’t update the systems you are using, you are taking risks that you should avoid at all costs.

How to avoid that?

To avoid this unpleasant situation, I recommend that you do the following:

  1. Update your WordPress version
  2. Update your templates
  3. Update the plugins
  4. Create complex passwords
  5. Create a backup of your site
  6. Use locking tools against hacking attempts

Also, I recommend that you work with Raiola Networks hosting. In my case, they saved my site in a matter of seconds because two hackers attacked my blog.

There is nothing better than working with secure hosting, with technical support to help you in complex situations.

► DDoS Attack

The DDoS attack is more common than it looks and is also one of the most challenging situations to combat, for the simple reason that this type of attack consists of sending an extremely high number of visits to a site to shut down the server and leave it inoperative, consuming all its resources.

This can be done by anyone through many forums that teach how to attack sites and by users who for $ 5 do this for these delinquents.

How to avoid that?

To prevent this type of attack, follow these tips:

  1. Use the Pingdom Tools Professional tool because, using text messages, the software will warn you of any anomaly.
  2. If your site is already unavailable, you should contact your hosting. They will know what needs to be done to solve the problem.

► Toxic links

This is the most common practice in negative SEO. Generating toxic links is a very easy task, and anyone can do this, even without any technical knowledge.

This practice consists of generating thousands of toxic links indiscriminately, all directed to the site that will be harmed.

These toxic links are considered harmful because they come from ilegal pages in Google’s eyes.

Why do they do that? To decrease ranking. That is, when checking which pages are linking the site, the search engine will see that most of them have a very bad domain authority so that the website will  lose relevance. If the search engine detects a very large number of “bad domains” with links to your site, you will have problems to recover ranking.

Imagine how disastrous it can be if it happens to you, right?

But how do they create these toxic links?

Here’s how they can do it:

  1. Using GSA
  2. With Scrapebox
  3. Through Fiverr for $ 5

How to avoid that?

To avoid a toxic link attack, do the following:

  1. Monitor all your links to make sure they were not attacked.
  2. Make a table with the toxic links in question and use tools like Ahrefs, Monitor Backlinls, Open Site Explorer or Search console
  3. Generate a .txt text to send a request for Google to ignore these links.

► Plagiarism

If you still think you will never have to deal with plagiarism, you are very wrong. This happens to everyone, but if the person who is stealing your content is using a negative SEO strategy against you, the consequences can be even more severe.

Because they will copy your texts and start distributing them to other sites. If your contente is duplicated on several pages, you can be severely penalized by Google.

Many times what they do is to access an article on your blog and copy it to several directories or sites with a bad reputation, or they simply access your feed and copy the entire content.

It’s something as easy as that. Incredible, right?

How to avoid that?

Sometimes avoiding plagiarism is impossible, but we can prevent more significant problems. I recommend you do the following:

  1. Install the WP Copy Protect plugin
  2. Add only a few paragraphs of text in the feed
  3. Use Copyscape to detect who is plagiarizing your content and with this information, take all reasonable steps to solve the problem.

► Trolls and haters

Although troll and haters attacks don’t directly affect your web ranking, if what they say in the comments is convincing, your personal brand will be severely compromised.

If your reputation is severely affected by the malicious attack of these users, even if your site is on the first page of Google, this will not help you to get new customers.

This type of attack is usually done by your competitors so your customers will stop trusting your products and think they are better with theirs.

How to avoid that?

In this situation, the first step will be to be aware of what is happening and who is damaging your online reputation. Considering this, what can be done to change the situation? First, protect your reputation.

This is easy to say, but difficult to do, as each case would have to be analyzed individually. It is best to be honest with your customers and ask for their help, so that you can show that what they are saying about your brand is a lie.

Are There More Negative SEO Attacks?

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