They say prevention is better than cure.
Low quality backlinks have pervaded the internet. Thus, Google’s Penguin update was created to diminish these backlinks that are of poor quality. Most webmasters were unhappy with this latest update as they use these linking strategies to increase their page rankings in the search engines.
Negative SEO is the strategy used to attack other websites that will result in website penalization. Instead of increasing another’s rankings, this is done by the use of backlinks that are of poor-quality to direct to the website of a competitor.
Google has never acknowledged the impact of negative SEO on natural search engine results. However, there are a number of case studies that have proven that this does have a dramatic impact on the rankings of a competitor.
Here are the things that have to be done regarding how to prevent negative SEO:
Be Proactive in the Backlink Profile of Your Website
Since you already have the knowledge that negative SEO can bring havoc to SERPS, then you should also understand that monitoring your backlink profile is paramount to your success. You have to be alert in checking your SERPS before your competitors will gain momentum in attacking you and drag you down.
The first strategy in negative SEO is the use of low-quality backlinks being pointed to a rival’s website. This does not need a large amounts of cash, and this is easy to perform, and challenging to trace. Google has no tool of detecting whether you or your rival used “10,000 links for $5” package at your site.
Monitoring your website’s backlink profile (or hiring an SEO Company) is the best method to prevent negative SEO attacks – for the awareness of if your site has malicious links being directed to it or not. There are free tools in obtaining this information, but it is best to use paid programs like SEOMoz Pro or Raven Tools.
You can check for the following signals of the backlink profile of your site:
- Foreign language sites links
- Bad sites links (adult, illicit, gambling sites)
- Spamming pages links
- Links from pages that send malware warnings within your browser
- Links from pages that contain more than 50 links in their body texts
However, you do not have to live as if you’re under attack by another competitor. It does not mean that having bad backlinks mean that you are under siege.
Utilize Google’s Disavow Tool against Probable Negative SEO Threats
Google has finally released its Disavow Links tool. This service can be located Google Webmaster Tools at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main. Probable backlinks can be created from the files created from this tool.
First step is to direct to the named link above and make sure that before you click “Disavow Links” you choose your website:
You will receive a Google notice that you have to confirm for the potential harm that will be a result from disavowing links inappropriately:
The next step will require a text file for you to upload that will have the links you wish Google to ignore:
You will make a “disavow.txt” file that lists the facts you need to submit to Google. This will include the following information:
- Complete URLS of target pages you want to have devalued
- The phrase “domain:” followed by any subdomains or full domains that you want to block completely
- Your requests for link devaluation should have comments after a “#”character
This is an example of a complete “disavow.txt” you desire to upload:
Important Things to Know about Google Disavow Tool
There is a great danger that could result from reporting legitimate links to be malicious in nature to the natural search performance of your site. It is possible that your rankings will decrease if you deem a questionable link is passing link juice to your site. You should not do the disavowing process unless your site is really subject to negative SEO.
You also should know that Google has not officially stated the effects when you report suspicious links.
Always be careful in the use of Google Disavow Tool. Best thing that you can do is be proactive in monitoring your site for negative SEO.