Negative SEO refers to malicious actions designed to negatively affect your website’s search engine ranking.
Here are some examples of negative SEO:
Pretending to be you and requesting the search engine to de-index your site. Google would remove your website from its search results, and your customers would be unable to find you when searching.
Having spammy and low-quality sites link back to your site. Because search engines use backlinks as a way to measure your website’s value for searchers, if a bunch of spam websites start linking to you all of a sudden, this can seriously harm your ranking.
Pretending to be you and asking other, legitimate websites to remove links to your site. This would in turn make your site less valuable to searchers in the eyes of Google.
Scraping, or stealing your content. Although Google does not technically “penalize” you for duplicate content, it can choose to hide your pages from the search results (especially if it decides that your website is the copy and not the original). To read more about this, see our page on content plagiarism.
Fast response time
If it’s an emergency for you, we will treat it as such as well. You can expect us to set working on your negative SEO issue straight away, and we can even work out of business hours at no additional charge to you. Depending on the type of business you have, a sudden drop in rankings can mean losing a lot of money, and we will approach the problem with that in mind.
Negative SEO prevention
There is no sure way to stop negative SEO from happening, but you can react faster and suffer fewer losses if you do monitor the performance of your website on a regular basis. Some things you might want to keep an eye on are:
Are you still ranking as high for your main keywords? A sudden drop could be due to foul play.
Did you acquire a large number of backlinks overnight? This could be suspect and should be investigated.
Have you disappeared entirely from Google? Find out why this has happened.
Have you lost some important backlinks, apparently for no reason?
Free website health check
Or how about asking us for our free website health check? Please note, that while ORM and SEO overlap a lot, we would not be looking at your overall SEO – only the aspects that affect your website’s reputation. You will receive a concise free report with no obligation to commission work from us. If there are ways your website’s reputation can be improved, we will point these out free of charge.
Photo at the top by Alon via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.