SEO refers to optimizing a website so that it comes higher in the search engine rankings. Negative SEO is the opposite of SEO and makes a website to rank lower in search engine rankings. Negative SEO tactics are employed by competitors by developing bad links to a website, deploying black hat and other negative SEO techniques. Making your website to rank lower in search engine rankings will result in the competitors’ websites scoring better in rankings. The five steps to identify and prevent negative SEO are elucidated below:
1. Get Emails
Make sure you are notified immediately when some thing is wrong with your site. The best way is to be notified about a new message regarding any abnormal activity through an email. Set up Google Webmaster Tools email forwarding and Bing Webmaster center so that you are notified through an email whenever you have a new message. You can opt to get emails at intermittent intervals like daily, weekly, and monthly depending upon your choice.
2. Set up Alerts
Set up alerts when ever there is any malicious activity targeted at your site. If you use Google then you need to give your site name, domain name and some possible spam terms which might be targeted at your site. For those of you who are on GA, you need to define the boundaries. You will get an alert when the boundaries are crossed. The boundaries are related to the sudden drop in traffic to your site, decrease in the number of conversations, and an increase in the bounce rate.
3. Check your Site Periodically
Never forget to check your website periodically. The better way to do this is to get a volunteer from outside the organization to do this job. Instruct the volunteer to search for one of the terms which is ranked well by you. Get their feedback regarding the results of the search. Give some incentives like gift vouchers to the volunteer for helping you out. This activity will give some peace of mind regarding the usability of your website.
4. Track your Links
Keep a track of your links using tools which provide backlink data for websites like Open Site Explorer (OSE) and Majestic SEO. Select one of these tools with which you are comfortable with a stick to it. Monitor the number of links and root domains to your site. Any major changes which deviate from the past observed trend should be investigated.
5. Identify New Referring Domains
This step will help you with link building and checking new links. First download the list of referring sites in your analytics package which are between the previous month and the month before it. Excluding the sites which are mentioned twice will give the new referring domains. Check for any oddities among them. Specifically keep an eye on new domains referring traffic and check which page is getting traffic, anchor text, etc.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. The best way to fight negative SEO is by building a website that is untouchable in the first place. Following the above five steps consistently will help you to keep a tab on your website.
About the author: Margaret Jules lives in Finland and has been doing internet marketing for last 5 years. She loves traveling, meeting new people and works at SEO Morpheus