While you work day and night to make sure your blog stays in line with search engines guidelines and achieve a better SERP rankings, there is a guy next door who doesn’t want your results to be commensurable with your effort. He employs the deadly negative SEO tactics, pointing hundreds or possibly thousands of malicious links to your blog, all in an attempt to make search engines recognize your blog as a potential treat.
Most of the time, the innocent blogger is completely unaware, while his enemy enjoys a cup of coffee in his little cubicle. This is just an analogy, but in reality, it is more serious and could potentially make you have a re-think about your blogging career.
In the past, Google claimed that negative SEO had no effect on SERP rankings but after series of conclusive statistics proving otherwise, the multi-billion dollar web giant had a rethink and introduced the Disavow Tool which I will talk about as you read on. Negative SEO is not something new. Not now, not a year ago and it isn’t stopping anytime soon, so you must ensure you develop a healthy disrespect for it.
The Causes Of Negative SEO
Like I pointed out earlier, Negative SEO arises when a blog has too many suspicious and malicious link profiles. When Google inspects a blog, the bot carefully analyses your links. Once abnormally is suspected, the blog begins to drop in SERP ranking. If not fixed quickly, it will continue to see further drops, till it no longer exists.
Another cause could emanate from content scrappers. When your contents are copied and pasted in numerous sites without properly identifying the original source. Google could see this as duplicate contents. Duplicate contents can dramatically ridicule your SERP rankings before you even grab the next cup of coffee. You can use Google Removal Tool to get rid of content scrappers.
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There are also a good number of bloggers who have been deceived into believing that success can only be achieved by purchasing backlinks. This is a black hat SEO technique and it is frowned upon by Google ruthlessly.
Preventing Negative SEO
Firstly, if you are convinced that you are a victim of Negative SEO, I’d recommend using a premium program like Raven Tools. Get an in dept analysis of what kind of links are pointing to your blog.
Now, you need to worry about links pointing to your blog if;
- It has more than 30-links on a single post.
- It triggers automatic download on browsers or malware warnings
- It emanates from foreign languages sites
- It comes from casino, adult and other reckless sites.
Secondly, you need to make good use of Google Analytics. Set custom alerts to get you notified when you have a sharp increase or decrease in traffic and of course, anomalies in bounce rate. I recommend this excellent guide to walk you through how to set Google Analytics data alerts.
Eliminating Negative SEO With Disavow Tool
Now that you know where the malicious links are coming, you don’t have to spend even a second typing that mail to the webmaster asking him to stop his action. Google’s Disavow Tool will make the entire process work like a charm for you. Just like the Bing Disallow Tool, GDT will let you tell Google to permanently ignore a single link or an entire domain when counting links to rank your blog.
Getting Started With Google Disavow Tool
1. Access Google Disavow Link Tool
2. Select your site and hit Disavow Links
Hint: You will get a warning; ensure you know what you are doing, if you disavow the wrong links, it will definitely have a negative effect on your blog, so you really have to be sure about the links or domain you want to disavow.
3. Now, you will need to create a disavow.txt file with ANSI encoding before you complete the process above.
Hint: (i)If you want to disavow a single URL, you must copy the entire URL. Eg http://www.example.com/2001/03/spam-me.html
(ii). If you want to disavow an entire domain, Google says this is the format it understands;
(iii). All links must be placed in a new line
(iv). You can use the harsh tag (#) to make a comment, anything with the harsh tag will be ignored by the disavow tool
This is an example of a completed disavow.txt file ready to be uploaded to Google.
Like I said before, and I have to repeat it because it is very important. Always be accurately sure that whatever links you are sending to be disavowed is not misinterpreted. If you disavow a legitimate link, it would only be a case of placing a round peg in a square hole.
Over To You
So much written already and I really hope that you have learned something. The disavow tool makes me to sleep at night knowing that spammers won’t hijack my blogs by pointing suspicious links to ruin months of sincere effort. I love to read what you think, if you have had any terrible experiences from negative SEO, it won’t be a bad idea if you can drop them on the comment box. 🙂
Last Updated October 2015