As an SEO agency, when we discuss our services with clients we tend to focus on the positives: higher SERP rankings, increased visibility, easy social media management, regular technical and content updates, etc. SEO has huge benefits for businesses, but unfortunately, the industry also has a seedy dark side.
We’ve talked about black hat SEO before, but now we want to discuss a new type of SEO that has emerged: “negative SEO”.
What is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO is the practice of using black hat SEO or other unethical tactics to sabotage a competitor’s rankings. This form of SEO can take multiple forms and may include:
- Hacking competitor’s websites
- Building spammy links to competitor’s websites
- Copy competitor’s content
- Pointing links to competitor’s website using controversial and irrelevant keywords
- Creating fake social media profiles to ruin a competitor’s online reputation
- Leaving fake bad reviews on competitor’s listings
What is the Difference Between Black Hat and Negative SEO?
This is a bit confusing because negative SEO uses some black hat tactics but the two are different. Black hat SEO is when someone uses illegal or unethical means to rank better, such as purchasing backlinks or fake positive reviews. This form of SEO essentially uses certain banned or frowned upon SEO tactics to benefit a business.
Negative SEO, on the other hand, uses these tactics to hurt a competitor’s business rather than boost their own. It’s when the competition attacks others rather than just cheating to get ahead.
Is Negative SEO a Threat?
Unfortunately, Negative SEO is a very real threat to online businesses. Google has implemented a number of algorithm changes lately that have cracked down on black hat SEO. While this is great, people that are looking for shortcuts getting ahead haven’t stopped trying and instead have turned to negative SEO. There are many people out there willing to do Negative SEO for relatively cheap prices, which incentives these companies looking to get ahead.
How Do You Prevent Negative SEO?
Preventing a negative SEO attack is easier than fixing one, which is why you should always be proactive when monitoring and protecting your business online. There are a few things you can do to stop it such as setting up Google Webmaster Tool email alerts, keeping track of backlinks, and securing your website from hackers.
Hiring a professional SEO agency is also a good way to prevent negative SEO attacks. In addition to boosting your business through white hat SEO techniques, an SEO expert will monitor your business. This means they’ll prevent negative SEO attacks and be able to quickly address any that slip through. By catching and addressing these negative SEO attacks quickly, your business will be less likely to suffer consequences.