The reign of social media brought with it…
Negative SEO is the stuff of nightmares. Its effects have the potential to be fatal to your business, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. There’s no way to inoculate your website against vicious attacks and underhanded campaigns championed by sinister rivals, which leaves you with no choice but to watch and wait.
Recognizing that you’re at the receiving end of someone’s devious deeds will give you the opportunity to act in the moment by employing countermeasures and preventing the damage from growing to unmanageable proportions.
Check Your Reviews
While you may generally read your reviews to get an idea about customer attitudes regarding your business, don’t be so quick to think that everyone will pop out of the woodwork to graciously hand you five stars. Spikes in outstanding reviews, especially when they don’t directly correlate to the volume of business you’ve been receiving, can be a sign that someone is trying to raise a false flag with Google about your legitimacy.
Check the names the reviews were posted under to assure that the individual has indeed been a client or customer of your business. If they haven’t, this is a surefire sign that malicious measures are in play. Contact the operator of the site that hosts the reviews to see if you can find out any specifics, and inform them that you believe the reviews may be a result of someone launching a negative SEO campaign against you.
Monitor Your Links
If you are in a business that deals with high-end home décor, you’d want your links to come from other high-end reputable sources. If someone is posting your link in an incomprehensible keyword salad, it’s logical to come to the conclusion that there’s no good reason for them to be doing that.
If your website link appears with a keyword string of “home décor nice expensive classy elegant fashion decorate modern new style 2015 discount coupon code” or even an exact match of the anchors you’re already using, you should be very suspicious as to why that link is pointing at you.
Someone may have created thousands of these links and based them in a foreign country, and they’re specifically designed to negatively stigmatize your business website. Informing Google through webmaster tools that you are not responsible can help them take action against the thug instead of mistakenly penalizing you.
Quarantine Your Website
If the attacker was crafty enough to get one past you, your only option from here is to attempt a recovery process. If your site has become infested, your best course of action is to go offline while you enlist the clean-up crew. You don’t need any more damage being done while you’re trying to counteract negative effects, lest you get caught in an endless loop.
Be sure to notify your web host of what’s going on, because what you’re experiencing could merely be the trickle-down of a broader attack that was aimed specifically at them. If this is the case, consider changing hosts entirely.
Take this time to be sure that you recognize all the listed users for your website, and remove any that you don’t. Beef up the passwords on existing accounts as an extra level of security.
Your individual pages, your content, and your robots.txt file may have been compromised through hacking measures. Make sure your robot’s file is allowing indexing by search engines, so as to avoid being taken off the grid.
Check for any links or modifications of content and the keywords associated with that content to make sure the only things you see are the things you put there yourself. Someone may have modified that content in an effort to sabotage you.