The benefits of increasing and prioritising SEO within your company is well documented. Putting intelligent strategies in place to grow your businesses virtual presence is relatively straightforward science. However, just as with any positive marketing tool, there are negatives to be vigilant against.
Negative SEO refers to practices employed by competitors which are deliberately rolled out to harm the popularity of your brand. Previously SEO was completely unpoliced, allowing a free for all on coercive marketing tactics, devised to tear down successful online presences, by any means possible. Who knew the word of marketing could get so ugly!
Some negative SEO is tricky to identify and even more challenging to combat, other more aggressive strategies are outrageously brazen in their attempts to spread slander or sabotage business.
The creation of fake reviews to dent a companies reputation is both slanderous and deeply impactful. Competitors set up fake accounts to leave poor comments via social networking pages or online review portals such as Trip Advisor. Act quickly if you suspect that your company may be the victim of such foul play. Report comments and email website administrators immediately to make them aware of this deformation, consequences for such activity can be substantial.
Another defamatory tactic a negative SEO traffic generator can pursue is the creation of one or more fake social profiles. This can result in the distribution of false information, misrepresentation and general spammy activity (urgh!). But fear not, tracking such left of centre attacks on your name can be policed using software available to monitor all fraudulent social media activities. Again report anything you discover online immediately and if necessary post warnings to followers that impersonators are promoting fake news and commanding a disingenuous following.
The long-established art of hacking still lives and breathes online today. Operating sinisterly, with the sole intention of editing out key information and pages which promote your business from search engines wide-ranging algorithms hackers attempt to disrupt the coding of your website and dismantle your general SEO. Hackers will take shots at editing your robots.txt file, which communicates directly with search engines to recommend what pages not to index. The intention of this activity is to eliminate your pages from SEO. To protect your website from this ensure you are using robust passwords with multiple authorisation codes, words or platforms. Change these passwords frequently. Google offers a Webmaster Tools alert system, which will police your robots.txt on the lookup for corrupt activity. Install today if you haven't already.
By creating identical pages of content to drive down online rankings, negative SEO can suddenly deem your online presence entirely invisible, choosing in favour of your imitator's pages. Algorithms are disrupted and can be wrongly directed towards unoriginal pages of content deliberately created to wipe your SEO right out of rankings. The frustrating factors here are proving who's original and ensuring you are protecting your pages before they are published. Using software designed to censor duplicate content such as Copyscape comes highly recommended. Once you identify the offender, contact the site owner with your legal party in copy. This kind of online activity is highly illegal. Ts & Cs should reflect this and must be accessible online. Duplicated content generators are liable for prosecution, you have the law on your side here. Adding canonical tags to your posts or website is another important strategy.
In short, be wise to the subversive online sharks making moves to tear down your successful online presence. Don't get mad, get even and wise to negative SEO, once you are watertight to the impact of black traffic you can sit back, relax and watch your company thrive.