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How to solve the problem of someone doing bad SEO against your website?

 

colorful SEO letters on white background, symbolizing ways to solve the problem of someone doing bad SEO against your website
Image Credit - Unsplash

Everyone dealing with digital marketing knows that ranking high on Google, and other search engines is becoming increasingly difficult due to numerous ranking factors. Ranking well for specific keywords is now much more challenging than it was several years ago. Therefore, people are continuously trying to come up with new strategies to improve their ranking. And so, negative SEO has arisen as one such new strategy. There are various reasons why someone would resort to it. It may be for fun, as revenge, or you could even unintentionally harm your own website. Most often, it's the competitors that implement these negative strategies to eliminate competition. If you have become a victim of such unethical practices, here are ways to solve the problem of someone doing bad SEO against your website.

What is negative SEO, and what does it involve?

Negative SEO is aimed at sabotaging a competitor's ranking employing unethical and black hat techniques. They involve a series of practices:

  • Hacking your site and changing things around - disrupting your site's coding, introducing viruses, messing up your SEO properties, such as changing alt text for your pictures, etc.
  • Spammy link building toward your site (link bomb), often using punishable keywords such as Viagra, gambling online, etc.
  • Creating duplicate content - copying and distributing your content. Luckily, this technique is becoming obsolete because Google has started clamping down on it.
  • Creating fake social media accounts with the aim of ruining your reputation.
  • Removing your most valuable backlinks.

Bad SEO against your website involves unethical techniques and black hat strategies to affect your rankings negatively. 

How to solve the problem of bad SEO against your website?

As is usually the case, prevention is easier than fixing the issues.

How to prevent?

  • Receive email alerts from Google Webmaster Tools to inform you when you are under attack, pages are not indexed, there is a connectivity issue with your server, or you have a manual penalty from Google. 
  • Tracking your backlinks is the most important strategy for spamming prevention. If someone is creating low-quality links to your website, you have to know it is happening so you can react quickly. Many useful tools like Monitorbacklinks.com, Ahrefs, or Open Site Explorer can help you keep track of your backlinks. They can also assist you in protecting your most valuable backlinks and preventing spammers from removing them. You can tag these backlinks and if you notice they are gone, contact website owners to find out why they have been deleted. 

  • When reaching out to the website owner who you want to use your link, always use your company email. That is, use the email from your domain, rather than Gmail or Yahoo. This way, you will prove your connection to the website. 
  • Secure your site from hackers by setting up a two-step verification system using Google Authenticator Plugin. Along with putting in your password, you will also receive a code on your phone. Also, create a strong password that consists of numbers, capital letters, and special characters. Finally, back up your data and files regularly.
  • Secure your website from malware, especially if users can upload their files to your site. Check with your hosting company how you can install antivirus software. 
  • Use Copyscape.com to check for duplicate content. If spammers copy and distribute your content all over the Internet, you can get penalized. 
  • Check social media mentions of your name or company name. Spammers often create fake profiles, and it's vital to report them before they start collecting followers. 

Creating fake social media profiles in just one way in which someone can harm your reputation and ranking.

How to fight? 

Firstly, if you have realized you have a problem, detect and make a list of links you should remove. Try to remove them by contacting owners of websites who have given you links. If they don't respond, contact the company that is hosting the website in question. They will usually help with removing bad links. In the end, if nothing works, you can disavow them. Google has released the Disavow Tool, but you should only use it as a last resort. It can take two to four weeks for it to work, and by that time, your ranking can suffer drastically.

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Seek help from professionals

The best course of action in preventing and combating bad SEO against your website is seeking professional help. Consider hiring experts to take care of the glitches on your website. Websites require maintenance, and it's best to leave that to professionals. For instance, if you notice your site's loading speed is unusually low, you have to react fast. Someone might be sending thousands of requests to your server, which could crash it. Professionals can help you deal with these situations. They can also keep your site and all plugins up to date, and most importantly, they will monitor your website security.
If you are struggling, hiring professionals to deal with your website issues is the right move.

Make sure you are not the problem.

As we have mentioned, you may be unintentionally hurting your ranking by implementing techniques not acceptable to Google. For example, pay attention that you don't: 

  • link to penalized websites
  • buy links for SEO
  • publish a lot of bad-quality guest posts
  • perform link building using "money keywords" predominantly - more than half of your anchor text should have your website name
  • sell links on your site without applying the “nofollow” attribute.

Finally, we have said that negative SEO is mostly done to eliminate competition. However, fun and revenge are also common causes. Therefore, be careful not to make enemies by arguing with clients or other people online. You never know what kind of person you are dealing with.

There is a glimmer of hope!

Having read all of this may make it seem that negative SEO is prevalent. However, that is not really the case because Google is quite good at detecting and stomping it. It also actively hunts for black hat SEO techniques, developing ways to prevent them. Of course, some of them will always slip through the sieve, but not for too long. And even if you find yourself under attack, there are still ways to solve the problem of someone doing bad SEO against your website. It will only require a bit more time and effort on your part.

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