Negative SEO is termed as the practice of unethical techniques to bring down a competitor's ranking in search engine result pages. Sometimes you might do certain tasks unknowingly that can be termed as negative seo by searh engines and hence drop your website rankings. It can be done in different ways.
- Adding website backlinks in spammy websites
- Tremendous increment of backlinks in a short span of time against the pattern using anchor texts unrelated to your website name or the page which is linked.
- Involuntary manipulation of robots.txt file
Analyze Backlinks Profile
You can find several tools online that can help you check your website's backlink profile.
- Site Explorer From Majestic - This tool not only provides your site's current backlinks but also the same from history. It also displays the details about follow and nofollow links, redirects, text links and image links
- Semrush - This tool also displays the percentage of organic and paid traffic to your site along with the backlinks details. As you have seen earlier, it also displays your website's top organic keywords, main organic competitors and their positions.
- Open Link Profiler- This tool allows you to filter your backlinks based on source url, linked text, date added, top level domains, etc which will make your job easier to filter out bad backlinks.
Prevent Negative SEO
- Never use unverified third party free or nulled themes if you are working on wordpress.
- Always use plugins from wordpress repository.
- Analyze your backlink profiles using online tools.
- Enable notifications on all issues from google search console preferences to get notified when google penalizes you for negative seo practices.
- Download backlinks data from search console and evaluate.
- Use Google Disavow Tool to remove bad backlinks.
- Avoid duplicate contents from your website being indexed.
Bad Practices You Should Avoid
While working to improve a website's ranking, sometimes you might get caught along the wrong way that hampers your ranking rather than doing something good. Here's a list of some practices that you should avoid while to get a better search engine ranking.
- Shallow Content - The minimum word count per post is 300. Higher the number of words better the ranking but don't compromise on quality. Try to meet the minimum requirement.
- Cloaking - Cloaking refers to providing different version of the webpage to search engines and visitors. It was previously used to increase search ranking but now has been banned by google and penalises a huge amount.
- Keyword Stuffing - The standard count of keyword in a post in 1 for 100 words. Adding related terms and proof terms is a great idea in place of repeating the same keyword again and again for both users and well as search engine rankings. Going to extent gets you penalised by google.
- Multiple <h1> Tags - Multiple <h1> tags should also be sparsed. Only use 1 or 2 <h1> tags for 300 words at max.
- Hidden Text - Hidden texts from users using styles is also a bad seo practice. The pages with hidden contents also have low rankings.
- Piracy - You shouldn't copy a content from other sources. You can rewrite it on your own words with your opinion added to it though.
- Top Heavy - Websites with huge number of ads before the content in above the fold region also gets lower ranking. The standard is to add no more than 1 ad above the fold and avoid pop up or overlay ads.
- Paid Links - Avoid paid links as google penalizes both parties involoved in buying and selling links that affects the google ranking credit.
- Link Spam - Avoid adding links to spammy forums, blogs or websites which reduces your ranking in search engine rather than improving it.
Full SEO Checkup
SEO Site Checkup is a great tool for a full SEO check up of a site. It breaks down the element of a site to different parts such as:
- General SEO - It checks a site's meta title and description along with the most common keywords used in the page and their presence in those meta tags. It also provides you with the keyword cloud that displays the emphasis of each keyword in the page. It also checks the presence of heading tags in your page and makes sure that you haven't exceeded their standard count limit. It also checks for the presence of robots.txt and sitemap files in the root directory of your website along with a lot more general tests. It also suggests the remediy procedures wherever it's needed.
- Page Speed - It also checks the elements responsible for delaying page loading in your website and suggests you the remedies.
- Server & Security - It also checks the security vulnerabilities in your site and suggests remedies. It also checks the content duplication state to avoid conflict in search result pages.
- Mobile Usability - It also checks the sites responsiveness to smaller screen and provides you with a snapshot of your site in smaller screen.
- Advanced SEO - It also checks the presence of advanced seo features in your site and suggests remedies wherever needed.
After performing full seo check up of your site, it also gives you a score out of 100.
Positive Link Building
Since we discussed a lot about negative links, you might be worried about positive backlinks building needed for your site. Sign up for forums like Quora, Reddit, Stack Overflow and write blogs or solutions to queries that arise. Place your link on related queries only and that too on the content section not the comment section. Quality is more important than quantity when dealing with backlinks. You can also send emails to website owners who post contents related to the ones you are posting and request them to refer to your site too in their posts. While most of those emails will be ignored, you can get at least 5-7% quality backlinks using this method.
Above all, the age of your domain also plays a vital role in SEO. So, sit back and relax after you have done everything from your part. You'll start to see the improvements in organic as well as direct traffic flow to your site while components like page authority, domain authority, trust flow, number of quality backlinks, etc. improves with time.