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Negative SEO Attacks On The Rise

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With the recent rise in the number of warnings and penalties for unnatural links being slapped on numerous sites in the latest Google Penguin Update, an increasing fear of harmful links and negative SEO attacks have rocked webmasters everywhere. As a result many people are now anxious to learn more about it and there is a lot of talk about ‘negative SEO’, what it’s all about, but also how to be fully protected against it.

In this post we are going to cover exactly what negative SEO is all about and what steps and measures we take to protect all of the websites and businesses we work with.

What Is Negative SEO?

In simple terms, negative SEO is the polar opposite to search engine optimisation. Unlike conventional SEO which aims to increase a site’s online visibility, the purpose of negative SEO is to decrease a site’s rankings within the search engines.

But who would purposely choose to do this? Well, the primary reason behind why someone might choose to use negative SEO is to send their competitors down the search engine results. Despite being an incredibly unethical tactic, some businesses may try to sink the sites of their competitors in order to improve their own search engine rankings and get to the top of Google.

All search engines permit a certain quantity of optimisation for each website but can take action when they feel that a site has been over-optimised. Basically, imagine each website as a glass, and once that glass has been overfilled it is at increased risk of being penalised by Google. Because of this, smaller sites are more likely to fall victim to a penalisation or warning from Google as unlike larger sites such as Amazon, a smaller site has less ‘space’ to work with. Therefore, whereas smaller sites can become quickly filled up with negative SEO such as spammy links and keyword stuffing, a larger and more established site will have considerably more space and not become as quickly overwhelmed by any negative SEO attempts.  This is why large sites such as Amazon are seldom targeted by negative SEO.

Are You At Risk From Negative SEO?

Are you concerned that your website may be at higher risk of negative SEO? Below you will find some defining characteristics of what makes a site either at low risk or high risk from negative SEO:

Characteristics Of A Low Risk Site

  • Has large numbers of online users searching for their brand name
  • Uses clean and exceptional quality content that does not feel as though it has been written for SEO purposes, but instead as information that others might find useful
  • The site has lots of usage metrics
  • Shows no signs of intentional manipulative linking, but instead an almost completely clean backlink profile

Characteristics Of A High Risk Site

  • Manipulative use of SEO (e.g. keyword stuffing, hidden links)
  • Spammy link building

When in doubt, these characteristics should help you to define whether or not your website is classified as at high or low risk from negative SEO.

How Do We Help To Protect Our Clients From Negative SEO?

Protecting your site from negative SEO requires no new revolutionary action, instead, in order to keep your website well defended against negative SEO your website simply needs to be following the standard SEO guidelines that Google have always promoted. Therefore, with all of our clients we ensure that their websites include the following:

  • Useful, up-to-date, unique and high-quality content that users will appreciate. Websites that genuinely set out to help site visitors cannot be ignored by Google
  • A clean link profile to demonstrate that no manipulative or black hat SEO techniques have been used
  • An expert website design intended for easy usability
  • Thorough site architecture

All of these may seem obvious aspects to include in any website, but it is the lack of these attributes in too many sites which have resulted in Google’s recent updates to prevent spammy sites.

For a more in-depth look at how we safe-guard all of our client’s sites against over optimisation or negative SEO, here is a simple breakdown of how we approach several of our sites’ SEO components to avoid over/under optimisation and find an effective balance between the two.

On-Page SEO

We avoid over-repetitive use of your site’s targeted keywords and instead use a selective mixture of your key words and key phrases, related words and synonyms. This attracts the attention of the search engines without over optimisation and risking a penalty. Get your on page SEO right from the start.

Content Quality

We pride ourselves on providing all sites with nothing but the highest quality content. Content is the key but quality content is king. Content that is original, informative and well-written when combined with your target key words will prove to be a valuable investment for your long-term SEO. If you would like to use article marketing for your SEO that will also engage with your customers, please get in touch.

Keyword Competition

Choose your keywords wisely and ensure that you have analysed your competition. You may find the competition for your top key words are very aggressive, however this shouldn’t deter you. Target mid-tail and long-tail key words to begin with, as these can offer low-hanging fruit for your business to quickly profit from. As you achieve more success the foundation of your website and SEO will provide the support required to target broader and more competitive keywords.

Anchor Text

We vary a combination of relevant keywords and use them in high-quality content. Websites that choose to do otherwise and simply fill a page with the same keyword are asking to get filtered out by Google. Do not over-optimise by building too many key word rich anchor text links of the same key words.

Link Quality

Having an abundance of paid links from low-quality websites will get you nowhere. Therefore, we strive to use a diverse array of links and natural links from the high quality of your site to boost your rankings with Google. After all, Google is looking for quality over quantity.

These are just some examples of how we ensure that we always use nothing but the very best SEO practices. However, if you are concerned about the welfare of your website or anxious that your website may be vulnerable to negative SEO then you can contact one of our experienced SEO experts who will be able to expand on what we have to offer our clients.

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