In recent years, negative SEO campaigns have become very common. Malicious backlinks are easy to obtain and can result in catastrophic losses in traffic. How do you know you’ve been targeted by a negative SEO campaign? While most of the attack is done behind the scenes, there are a few tell-tale signs that you have been subjected to a negative SEO implementation.
1. Sudden loss in traffic not due to natural trends or seasonality
2. High numbers of referral visits from irrelevant or poor quality sites
3. Unnatural spikes in traffic from regions outside of your target geos
Because it’s not required to obtain permission from a website owner before linking to them, there is no way to prevent an attack. The best way to minimize the impact a negative SEO campaign can have on your online presence is to ensure you are in compliance with Google now.
While implementing best practices recommended by Google during the recovery process will help, being in compliance before attack happens can mean the difference of months when looking at the timeline of traffic recovery after negative SEO losses. With patience, quality control, and the right team, full recovery is possible.
The process of Search Engine Optimization is constantly evolving. According to Google, it’s not against SEO- in fact, it prefers that websites are optimized properly in order to make the crawling and indexing process as resource-light as possible. In order to maximize your online presence, the tactics that put you on the search engine’s naughty list should be discontinued and, if possible, undone. What are these tactics?
Quite possibly the best part about Search Engine Optimization is that almost nothing is irreversible. Some tactics may take longer than others to recover from, but once a constant commitment to quality, relevancy, (and a little humility) has been established the recovery process will begin. Search Engine Optimization is a much more manual, time-intensive process than it was years before. Algorithm refreshes and updates continue to push for quality results for users so the best way to stay relevant is to offer your target users informative, unique content. After all, high quality content will never go out of style
If you’re concerned that your website’s performance is being hindered by low quality, spammy, or even malicious backlinks, there are steps that can be taken to rectify the situation. Disavows are needed if you had an SEO campaign running that involved article or directory submissions at any point. These sites have been on Google’s no-fly list for several years and are considered one of the hidden hazards of poorly implemented SEO. In some cases, even naturally acquired backlinks can be categorized as spam.
Since backlinks are at a domain level, even launching a new site won’t undo the negative effects of this common spam tactic. While time-consuming, disavows are a critical piece of a fully compliant SEO strategy.