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Negative SEO: Definition, Consequences & Preventive Measures

“Negative SEO can turn the tables for your website in terms of SERP rankings, website performance, and security.”

Negative SEO is when your competitors use black-hat tactics to pull down your website’s traction and sabotage your SEO ranking. Rival brands use negative SEO tactics to sabotage your web pages which is unethical and sometimes illegal too. Such attacks can rapidly damage your website ranking, impact your ratings and attract unnecessary audiences to your site.

You must get a note of everything that can hurt SEO results and learn how to prevent it.

Ways That Hurt Your SEO

Given below are some tactics your competitors adopt sometimes to hurt your SEO-

  • Hacking your business website or web page or other forms of cyber attacks
  • Malware attack to pull down your SEO rankings
  • Copying and distributing your content on other websites to attract the wrong audience
  • Removing backlinks from your uploaded contents to drop the rankings
  • Creating and running fake business profiles to impact the reviews
  • Spammy links on your website
  • Submitting fake link removal requests
  • Posting fake negative comments and poor reviews

Other black-hat tactics put down your website’s SEO and can threaten your brand’s visibility. Let’s take a look at how negative SEO can affect your website.

Consequences Of Negative SEO

Negative SEO damages your website’s online position and hurts your business image. Black hat SEO tactics though unethical are mostly used by your competitors leading to the following consequences-

Sinks Search Engine Rankings

Negative SEO firstly attacks the search engine rankings of your business websites or web page. Any competitor wants to secure the first three rankings on the search engines. SEO tracking initiates intrusions and pull-downs your rank from the top. This greatly affects your brand visibility in SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

So Negative SEO not only drops your rankings but also impacts online sales too.

Negative Ratings & Poor Reviews

The ratings, reviews, and feedback help in building trust and credibility for your brand. They help in attracting new visitors to your website and help them to engage with the products and services of your site. Your competitors can leave poor ratings, negative comments, and feedback on your website as well as other business listing or rating sites. This results in losing the trust of your audience and customers greatly.

Poor Website Performance

Hacking, malware and other SEO attacks always kick down the customer journey on the website. The SEO black-hat tactics can exponentially affect website exposure and slow down the user experience. Once you compromise on the website quality, the website’s reputation becomes poor. Due to this, you can start losing customers and visitors to your business site.

Wrong Traction & Exposure

The black-hat tactics not only make the website’s performance poor but also attracts the wrong audience. This results in unnecessary website visits and increases in the traffic inflow. Therefore, prompts false website tracking reports and manipulates the data collection. Click-through rates, traffic, sessions, and bounce rates- all these generate false data and subside quality conversions.

You must always watch for these issues and immediately take action to control these damages. All these will only drown your website’s visibility and online reputation.

How To Protect From Negative SEO?

Respond immediately when the competitors are pulling your SEO down, or your website is under attack or is being hacked. You must implement the right tactics and measures to ensure your website is not damaged.

Before your SEO is impacted and rankings are affected you must take the given below measures.

Step Up Your Website Security

To prevent any kind of cyber attack, malware attack, or hacking, you need a strong secured website.  To improve your rankings and keep your website updated you must ensure your website is always updated.

You can have a system of alerts that will issue warnings against any kind of malware or cyber-attacks. Ensure that your website is monitored and checked closely so that you can immediately take action. Check and update your passwords, and check your authorization so that unknown logins can be prevented.

Always Check Your Website Backlinks

One of the black-hat tactics resulting in negative SEO is spammy links to your website content. This may direct the users to your competitor’s websites from your website using these links. You need to ensure that you are reviewing your website performance, updating your content, and running website checkups periodically. You can also use different SEO tools or even ask for professional assistance from SEO service providers in India to check that all your backlinks are proper and working effectively.

Additionally, some online tools can alert you when you are losing your backlinks or acquiring new links. Thus you can keep a check on suspicious activities and protect your backlinks. Apart from that, you can also add some tags to the backlinks which are of value and keep a close eye on them.

Lookout For Duplicate Content

Your website content should be unique, and creative and help you stand out from the crowd. One of the SEO attacks where copying and distributing your content on other websites can affect your SERPs and rankings. Your competitors can make a copy after search engines index the content. Additionally, they can claim that content as their own.

You can ask for expert assistance in SEO in handling such situations. But it is important to optimize your website rank to expand your online business.

Conclusion

Negative SEO can not only impact your rankings on SERPs but also implode your brand value online. You may lose your audience’s trust and damage your online sales. If your website is highly secure and you have a keen eye on your competitor’s every move you can avoid any SEO attack.

Make sure that you regularly update your website, check its core web vitals and track the website performance periodically. This way your website’s SEO vitals are stronger and you have boosted rankings.