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Your SEO efforts should be focusing on gaining exposure for your brand and your website by ranking high in organic search results. This is done in a variety of ways, like including keywords in your copy, making sure all of your images have ALT tags, and writing fantastic meta descriptions that entice clicks. Unfortunately, there are some less-than-reputable companies out there who, instead, focus their SEO efforts on taking other people down instead of bring themselves up. We call this “Negative SEO”. It is not the same thing as Black Hat SEO, because this term describes underhanded tactics of boosting yourself. Negative SEO is solely making efforts to affect someone else’s rankings, not your own.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait around and hope you aren’t a victim of Negative SEO. You can do things to make sure your brand name and website aren’t taken for a nosedive:
Keep an Eye on Your Backlinks
“Backlinks” are a term for inbound links that come to your website from a different website. Typically, it is good to have these type of links and Google will rank your website higher because of them, assuming that if other websites link to you then you must be a reputable site. If you see a huge spike in backlinks, that means someone is bombarding your site with spam links and you need to get it taken care of before Google takes notice. Your next step is to disavow these backlinks, blocking them from actually connecting and affecting your website.
Monitor and Report Fake Reviews
Sometimes a competitor will attempt to post false reviews about you online, hoping to give you a negative reputation. While unethical, it’s far too easy to do if you aren’t paying attention. The tricky part is realizing they are there and removing them before they cause any damage. Google Alerts is an amazing free tool to help your monitor any mention of your name online that is enough for most small businesses, but there are also advanced tools.Thankfully, dealing with them is pretty easy in most cases. Sites like Yelp usually have a “report this review” button available to the owner of the business profile. Just make sure you don’t abuse this function and attempt to report reviews you simply don’t agree with, that’s not what this feature is for.
Be the Authority in Your Industry
You’ll only get so far by monitoring your backlinks, disavowing spam links and reporting fake reviews. You’ll get much farther by creating a site that is so strong, so powerful, and so consumer-friendly that no amount of spam attacks can bring it down. Instead of always be on defense, you can become the authority in your niche, out growing, out ranking, out marketing, and out doing your competitors on every digital front. You win by just being plain better! To be better, you make a better website and better content.
Negative SEO is a horrible business practice, but some people still use it to try to undercut the competition. Instead of feeling fear, be confident that your website and your SEO tactics are best practices. That’s truly the best way to combat any shady, Negative SEO. If you’re truly concerned about your business’s success, give your website’s SEO the attention and investment it deserves. To learn even more about what is considered good SEO practices in today’s competitive atmosphere, download our free eBook Modern SEO today.