The Perils of Negative SEO: What You Need to Know – Advice from an SEO agency in Shropshire
Since Google’s Penguin algorithm update there’s been no shortage of talk about Negative SEO.
Negative SEO is the practice of using black hat and unethical techniques to sabotage a competitor's rankings in search engines. A common form of this is the creation of hundreds or sometimes even thousands of spammy links to the target website in the hope of harming its rankings.
Unfortunately this happens, and much more than you would believe. This is building a whole new industry – one in which companies and individuals are making a living by playing dirty, cheating, and being unethical. I guess there’s an attraction for some: Why spend a fortune on things like content marketing and link attraction, when you can fairly easily destroy your competitors with Negative SEO?
If you think about it, not all that long ago, there were hundreds if not thousands of companies (If you include those that send us unsolicited emails from eastern Europe, Asia & India) offering cheap link-building services as their only solution. What happened to those when Penguin emerged, meaning their only approach (Link Building) not only stopped working, but actually had a negative impact on SEO results? Of course, they turned those skills to a different form of service – Negative SEO.
Some companies actively choose to rely on these tactics. Instead of partnering with a reliable, trustworthy and good quality SEO agency to compete in the "content marketing" game, where the ante has been seriously upped, they not stay in their game and the rankings by obliterating their competition.
A quick look on Fiverr, freelancer.com or upwork.com unveils no shortage of people offering these services. It’s not hard to come by if you are looking for a quick and dirty win.
Is Your Website Safe?
As experienced Penguin Audit Analysts having conducted hundreds of audits and Google penalty recovery campaigns, we have learned to identify sites that are vulnerable to attacks. In general terms, sites capable of sustaining a negative SEO attack without suffering a great impact (If any at all sometimes) are those with old, established link profiles with enough volume and authority.
However, website with few links or not many with authority can be easily hit by Negative SEO attacks. Unless the site owners are either carefully monitoring their link profiles, or are using an SEO agency to include monthly link audits and reviews, they may not know until it's too late and a Penguin penalty or a manual penalty has already been applied, and then it’s the long road to recovery, which is complex, time consuming and frustrating for the company that suffered the penalty.
Can You Protect Yourself?
Engage a quality SEO expert or agency. Have them monitor your link profile carefully. To do this they should use a variety of tools such as Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools, Ahrefs, Majestic, Moz. It is these tools that will allow them to keep track of all of your inbound links, and pick out those that look dubious, and in need of action to ensure they don’t impact your campaign. A quality SEO agency will know how to determine if a link is healthy or toxic, and how to handle toxic links properly.
If you’re looking for reliable SEO in Shropshire, we’d love to have a chat.