Contrary to popular belief, negative SEO is comparatively rare. It isn’t very often that any person or business chooses to go so far as to directly attack a rival business, for its own gain. Nevertheless, it does happen from time to time. And when it does, the consequences can be devastating.
So even if you yourself do not have the expertise required to detect, prevent or combat negative SEO, it is still in your best interests to understand what it is and how it works.
For example, one of the most common approaches to negative SEO is that of creating link farms. The idea being that while a couple of spam links won’t do much harm to a site’s SEO stature, hundreds or even thousands of spam links could do a real number on it. Because of this, it’s a good idea to ensure that periodic link audits are carried out on your site, just to see exactly where all the links are coming from.
One of the easiest and most effective ways of ruining a competitor’s rankings is to simply take their content, copy it and paste it across multiple additional sites. Given the way in which Google marks down sites that show even the faintest sign of duplicate content, it can be highly detrimental. On the plus side, Google usually knows which site published the piece first, so it’s comparatively rare for this to have any catastrophic consequences. Also, you really only need to use copies kit from time to time, to ensure this isn’t happening.
Modifying Your Content
Contrary to popular belief, hackers don’t always leave behind obvious evidence of their activities. In many instances, they strive to accomplish the exact opposite. They hack your site, make subtle/invisible changes behind the scenes and watch you suffer the consequences as a result. From tweaking the very coding in a negative way to hiding spammy content behind the scenes, there are various ways and means by which these attacks can be orchestrated.
Fraudulently misleading reviews are rife today, to such an extent that most people view reviews and testimonials across the board with at least a certain amount of scepticism. Nevertheless, the fact that reviews have a lot of influence when it comes to SEO means that negative reviews can also be a powerful weapon. Precisely why reputation management is something that should be taken seriously, as opposed to simply overlooked or ignored.
The same also goes for fraudulent complaints, brought directly to the doors of Google and making you out to be something of a negative entity. The more severe the complaints, the more likely you are to receive at least some kind of manual inspection or audit. Of course, assuming you’re doing everything right, you’ve nothing to worry about, but things like this can still drag your reputation through the mud and cause unnecessary complications.
Last but not least, if the hacker manages to get into your website, they may modify your pages to redirect traffic to their own website. This is a tactic generally used for the benefit of the site at the end of the redirect, though depending on the site the link points to, it could also result in the penalization of your own website, should the link be considered malicious by Google.