Being a novice like you, I was surprised, when 10 months into my blogging journey, I discovered that my articles, weren’t ranking.
I had poured in hundreds of hours, into keyword research, search engine optimization, and most importantly creating the content.
Basically, I had done everything, and more, to kickstart the success of my blog.
But after, 1 year, I was shocked to discover, that none of my content was ranking, in fact, my articles were no where to be seen on google search.
What the hell was going on? I asked myself.
On further digging, I finally found the culprit.
A nasty, wicked and evil person, had decided, to make my website, a target of their negative seo schemes.
Thankfully, I had followed, all the basic protocols, and more, to setup, a successful website.
A. What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO, or Negative Search Engine Optimization, are techniques, carried out by competitors or self, that sabotage and harm, the position of websites, in organic search rankings.
Mostly, the targets are new and upcoming bloggers, who don’t know any better, and don’t have the financial resources to mitigate an attack.
B. Causes (How to Detect Negative SEO)
If somebody feels, they can get away with something, they will go for it. In my case, a wicked person, in my hosting company decided to wreck havok on my new website, so that it will never see the light of day.
Below are some of the causes of negative SEO, in the world today.
1. Bad Backlinks
In the heyday, criminal webmasters can destroy a website’s reputation, by sending bad backlinks on a targeted webmaster pages. Just like that, a blogger can see all their website rankings drop like a rock thrown into water.
Today search engines have gotten smarter and can identify such activities, but some cut throat criminals use sophisticated backlinking strategies, to harm competitors.
2. Content Theft (Duplicate Content)
Content theft is a second strong negative seo arm.
Sophisticated bots or humans, are used to ping or observe your websites to discover when a new article is published. Just as you publish a new article, the bot or human, quickly republishes the same article on their website, sometimes unbeknowst to you.
Search engine bots then scan the two articles and get confused, flipping a coin to know who first published the article.
Some webmasters even go a step further, and report the website to google for content theft. Frustrating your seo efforts completely.
3. Bot Attack
Bot attack for negative seo can come in different ways.
*** DDoS Attack
A DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack is when multiple computers eat up the bandwidth or resources of a targeted server system, usually one or multiple web servers.
The attack, makes use of multiple unique ip addresses and machines from infected hosts (computers), with malware.
*** Bounce Bots
Bounce bots is a new form of bot attack. It involves sophisticated bots, whose sole responsibility is to scan search engines for a targeted website results, click on the targeted result, and bounce from the website, with less than 1 sec, time on website.
Their sole aim is to trick google to think the articles are not worth, ranking, as such should be ranked lower.
These bots, click the targeted articles methodically, and over time can de-rank a website search result, from first page to the second or third page.
4. Removing Backlinks
This involves inspired negative seo professionals.
They use backlink checker tools, to examine the backlink profile of a website, then they contact website, linking to the original websites, pretending to be affiliated to the targetted website, and ask these websites to remove the backlinks.
Over time, a website, that has many backlinks will lose backlinks overtime.
A good way to avoid this, is to have an spf, dkim, and dmarc records on your domain, so emails spoffed from your domain ends up in the spam folder of email service providers.
Hacking involves gaining a backdoor entrance into a website to sabotage the website from the inside.
Sometimes hacks go unnoticed and the hacker, quietly does some terrible things to the website.
*** Modifying Content
The first thing hackers can do is modify the existing content of your website, by injecting renegade codes that can sabotage your website, or prevent anybody from accessing the website.
*** Website De-indexing
They can also gradually de-index your articles, over time, causing you to lose rankings over time.
The best way to prevent hacking is to follow the 14 best ways to secure a WordPress website.
6. Click Fraud
Click fraud involves clicking on website ads to sabotage your marketing efforts.
Most wicked negative SEO expert add this to their repertoire, if they discover that a website they have invested a lot of money on sabotaging, tries to escape by buying ads.
C. 8 Tips to Prevent Negative SEO Attacks
Below are some of the things you can do to prevent negative SEO attacks.
With cash in the bank, all negative SEO attacks can be reversed easily, but most times, negative SEO attacks, occurs on small time blogger.
In such, instances, then incorporating these tactics, can help novice bloggers, scale through.
But remember they are just guidelines. In some rare cases, the only option you have is to start a new blog in a different niche, without revealing your identity (ever).
1. Use Shared Hosting and Cloudflare
Negative SEO attacks begin, when a website is identified, to have great potential, with fresh evergreen articles.
Then the attacker, then targets the website, with negative SEO, so the website never succeeds, so they can snap up the website domain, and everything for pennies.
So hiding the identity of your website, in its initial growth phase is important if you plan to succeed later on in life.
For these reason, you should always go for shared hosting plan, where there are many other websites hosted on the same server with you.
These number of websites, can help mask the identity of your website, as it puts roots in the SEO world, before it yields traffic.
Note that most negative SEO attacks, originates from wicked, server managers, in your hosting provider, who want to crush your website, before it succeeds, but if many websites are hosted on the same server, they won’t have time to scan all websites, to attack a particular website.
Using cloud flare proxy, protects your website ip address from the outside world.
2. Avoid Negative SEO Susceptible Niches
Not all niche are created equal. If you want to succeed online.
Avoid the following niche, because they are a pain in the arse, and you are just throwing away time, and effort:
- Health and fitness (they are too many)
- Relationship (they are too many)
- Advice (they are too many)
- Children (they are too many)
- Mom and parenting (they are too many).
The above listed niche, are too competitive, and a new blogger, with no resources has no chance, conquering this niche (although some stubborn people will say otherwise).
If you are ready to suffer, in your blogging career, go after the above listed niche.
You can go after the niche listed below:
- Tech (Tech is vast, with lots of sub nich, that can make you profitable in as little as 3 months).
- Agriculture (Not many bloggers in this field)
- Writing (Mediumly saturated, with fields that can be taken).
Like I said, the earlier, you start making money from your blog, the faster, you can be able to mitigate negative SEO threats to that blog.
If your blog is not making money, then you are going to lose all your savings, trying to maintain it. Don’t go for money pit niches.
4. Protect your Content with DMCA
DMCA is a website, that can actually protect your content with a dmca badge. Paying $100 for a year subsciption, and going after a profitable niche, will make your rich in a short amount of time.
6. Write Long Form Content Use
Brain Dean of backlinko invented the (skyscraper technique), a technique which can be used to make a profitable blog.
Make sure, your website articles are above 1500 words for response post, and above 3500 words for pillar content.
This way, you are able to blow your competition out of the water, and rank faster.
Nevertheless, writing long content is not easy, it takes time, to perfect the skill, but if you eventually perfect your craft, you are going to the moon.
7. Monitor Backlinks Google Disavow Tool
Monitoring your backlink profile can be achieved by logging into search console, and looking at backlinks.
If you have money, you can use, keyword monitoring tools, like Ahrefs, semrush, and moz.
These keyword tools can actually track your organic keywords, and help your note bad backlinks.
When you discover a bad backlink, you can easily disavow, then with a search console tool (google disavow tool).
8. Avoid Mentioning Your Name in Your Posts
Avoid mentioning your name in your blog post in the initial stages of your website.
This is to stop bad actors, from doing a reverse name search on your, and start targeting all your blogs.
In the initial stages, just blog, without putting your name on your blog.
When the website, has become huge, you can then start pasting your name on the blog.
This is because you are already earning a substantial income from your blog, and so, nobody in their right mind, will think of sabotaging a popular blog, although, so rich competitors will still try.
Nevertheless, when you are now a popular blog, with an email list, it will be harder for your blog to fail.
9. Get Good Security to Block Bad Bots Scraping Content
Preventing bad bots from scraping your content and republishing it is good, when trying to rank a new website.
*** Cloud flare
Earlier, we talked about using cloudflare proxy feature, to mask the ip address of your blog; that is just one feature that clouldflare provides for free.
You can also, make use of its other feature like bot protection, and force https, which will help prevent bad actors, from sabotaging your blood, sweat and tears.
*** Wordfence and Sucuri
Wordfence is by far the best free website security software available on wordpress. Sucuri comes in as second.
Use these tools to secure your wordpress website, and prevent stories that touch the heart.
Final Thoughts on Negative SEO
Honestly, depending on the budget or zeal of the individual attacking your website SEO, you might not be able to do anything, but hope Google picks up the attack, with their sophisticated search engine algorithms.
As a matter of fact, previous ranking factors have been updated to foil, cut throat black hat SEO marketers.
That said, following best SEO practices should keep you in the good books of search engines, especially google search.
In some bad cases, you might have to invest cash on advertising platforms to get traffic to your website or do a website overhaul, and focus more on YouTube content, since YouTube algorithms is harder to game.
- Negative SEO – YesterBlog