Though Google regulates SEO to some degree, it’s still a wild place at times—and can be easily manipulated. For example, anyone is free to build a backlink to any website they want from their own site. Moreover, not all websites tightly oversee which sites their users link to: meaning your competitor, at any time, can easily ask their SEO company to link to your site from those Google explicitly doesn’t like (e.g., adult or gambling websites). Even though you didn’t post them, Google will hold you responsible for these links. This is the perfect example of how a simple negative SEO attack can ruin your rankings.
When someone unethically and dishonestly sidesteps the rules, what can small (honest) businesses like you do? Let’s discuss a few options right now.
Yes, the Google Disavow tool does allow you to dictate some links won’t count against your website profile. Yet, it’s not easy or fast to use, and Google doesn’t quickly acknowledge requested changes—if at all sometimes.
SEO experts can first set up e-mail alerts in your Google Webmaster tools and then actively monitor your link profile. Some link-checking tools do so every day and automatically send reports when you gain or lose important links. Link monitoring is most important because this is the easiest and most common pathway to negative SEO.
Another black-hat spammer technique is to pose as you while contacting owners of websites where you have good links placed. You can get around this by always contacting other website owners from your domain’s e-mail address (rather than a Gmail or Yahoo account).
Another common attack occurs when others copy and paste your website content all over the web. A few pages probably won’t affect your rankings, but serious attackers will do this with most of your content. Copyscape is a resource that can help you monitor for this, after which your SEO team can contact website owners and notify them of any issue.
You Can’t Tackle Negative SEO on Your Own!
SEO is simply too complex to manage all by yourself in addition to everything else you need to do as a small business owner. Monitoring and prevention aren’t all that difficult, whereas managing a negative SEO attack as it occurs is a time-consuming process.
The best defensive strategy is to hire an experienced SEO team you can trust to have your back at all times.