What is Negative SEO?
Black hat SEO is generally thought of as manipulative SEO tactics that fall outside the boundaries of SEO guidelines. Usually, black hat SEO perpetrators decide to forego these boundaries in order to gain artificially heightened rankings through trickery and loopholes. To negate this, Google is constantly thinking up clever ways to combat the onslaught of dishonest SEO tactics. Website editors who have accidentally duplicated content or used improper back-linking know well; Google will penalize strictly for any black hat SEO. Similar to framing someone for a crime they didn’t do, some dishonest website owners have thought up ways to rise above their competition: lower them.
It’s called “Google bowling” and the idea is simple: instead of using black hat SEO to raise your website ranking (while potentially risking being swiftly penalized), website competitors have found ways to conduct blatant black hat SEO tactics on other websites in order to get them penalized, effectively lowering their ranking and reducing them as threats to their search engine rankings. Some methods of Google bowling include buying links for competitor’s website, which will inevitably be penalized by Google. Another common method is the injection of malware into the header of a competitors website, causing load speeds to lag and other functional problems..
How do you protect yourself?
- Keep in mind negative SEO isn’t purely link related. Load speed manipulation and other technical errors play a role too.
- Injectable malware headers are one of the most commonly used negative SEO tactics that attempt to slow down a website’s load speed. This malware code will look alien and out of place, so monitor your website routinely and thoroughly to make sure everything is current and clean.
- As far as links are concerned, monitor your inbound links and look for spammy pages. Use Google Webmasters and check your inbound links at least once a month.
Protecting you website form negative SEO isn’t easy, and will take some technical know-how. Stay on track with strong long term sustainable SEO tactics and don’t fall into the short term trap of black hat SEO. Learn how to stay up to date with the latest SEO protections and you can be sure your site will be safe from attack.