The new ranking algorithms usually always have an impact, even if only small on the SEO and rankings of the hundreds of websites we manage. It's crucial to stay on top of things because search engine traffic equals profit at the end of your website's marketing funnel.
The recent Penguin update is no exception. This time around though, the buzz about Negative SEO is louder. And it's not just our team taking note, online marketer experts across the globe are keeping aware and adjusting their process to protect website assets.
What exactly is Negative SEO? You can liken Negative SEO to bad press, except that it's online. While bad press can lessen a brand's estimation in the eyes of its audience, Negative SEO can lower your search engine ranking. It is defined as anything malicious done to your website to lessen its SEO ranking. Specifically, it is action taken by a competitor to lessen the quality of your link profile.
Negative SEO is usually done through a concerted effort to send low quality backlinks to your site. Often, black hat SEO practices are used. Your competitor may be sending backlinks to your site through automated software, spam backlink sites, and paid backlink sites. There are other methods, with the one malicious goal of bringing down your website's ranking.
As an example, let's say that you have a cafe, which has a high ranking website. You've worked hard to increase the online buzz about your site. The website has good content; it has a blog; it's on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. You even participate in online forums and such about locally sourced organic food and people who can't live without coffee. Your site enjoys traffic from these linkages and from ranking on top of your selected keywords. And then suddenly your online traffic declines... not just for a day or two. You observe a continuous decline for days. You also suddenly see referred clicks from porn sites and link farms.
When something like this happens, it could be that you're a target of Negative SEO.
There is something you can do to deal with this kind of situation. Here, the best action is actually preventive. The idea is to make your website ranking immune to the malicious actions of your competition.
First of all, you need to make sure that your link profile is solid and authoritative. This means that you should make an effort to create backlinks from related websites, which should have good link profiles too. Create blogs with good original content that's related to your site, and then link back to your site. Update your blogs' content. Make a consistent effort to find link partners that you can exchange links with. Participate in industry forums and groups. Be active in the social media. If you're too busy with all this, get a specialized team to help you.