Sometimes it is simply not enough to win; you must also make sure that your competitors always lose. Here we must introduce the concept of negative SEO. As the name states, it works by reducing the ranking of your competitor’s website in the SERP’s. Although it can be used for removing negative publicity of oneself, negative SEO is generally used to downgrade other websites.
There are a few things you must know before you start off on your journey to remove your competitor’s website from SERPs, most importantly, how can you protect yourself from negative SEO attacks? The key step is to monitor your rankings regularly. But to prevent that from happening, you can take the following measures-
- Check regularly for virus or malware attacks and have backup to get your website up and running before your ranking plummets.
- Remove all potentially harmful content from your website and check your Bing and Google webmaster tools so you can react to notification emails promptly.
- Both Bing and Google webmaster tools allow you to repost spam backlinks.
- Always try to identify the source of the attack. This will give you ground to sue.
When and how should you use negative SEO?
As we have mentioned before, if you can track the source that is bombarding your website with negative SEOs and sue, so can others. So you should use negative SEOs only under certain circumstances to promote your websites.
- Make sure you have permission from the site owner, or they will have sound reason and ground to sue.
- Do not pay for the services of the black hat SEO specialists.
- Do not breach Google guidelines.
- The links should not be created solely for the purpose of degrading your competitor’s SERP ranking and reputation.
- Do not create programs or links to damage any website content or the servers which host the websites.
So now we come to the cream of our topic, how is negative SEO done or how to remove your competitor’s website from SERP?
To being with, there are plenty of ways to do so, but only a few to do so legally. As you can understand, throwing links at your competitors without their knowledge to solely damage their website ranking and reputation can be a chargeable offense. So let us begin with the few ways that are not as sneaky and dubious.
1. Insulate your websites
This is possibly the safest and the most harmless way of going about the negative SEO process. Insulation involves creating positive content about your website or your client’s website in response to a deprecating post that has been made by your competitor on their website. You can create SEO to promote your positive content pages higher up and push the bad press way down where they are never found. This is more like a smart and legal business strategy than negative SEO.
2. Remove the desecrating content.
If you notice any derogatory comment or post about your website or company sometimes all you need to do is approach the forum moderators or blog owners. Although it might require an occasional nudge from your attorney, but more generally the modulators are more than happy to remove the posts without any fuss. Most recent cases of similar incidents include the demands for the removal of seven “unflattering” photos of Beyoncé from the internet by her publicist.
3. Infecting a website
Although it might sound very lethal and absolutely illegal, it runs on a very simple dogma. If a website is infected with a malware or a virus it will be tagged as “unsafe” by the SERPs. This is mostly achieved by cross-site scripting vulnerabilities and simple manipulation of URLs. When Google picks up such unscrupulous links it flags the websites as infected and may also take the additional step of removing it from the SERPs.
4. Google Bowling
What if you could make Google believe that a particular website is infected or has a virus? It is fairly simple; all you have to do is link the website to links from a lot of bad neighborhoods and auto-generated spam pages. When thousands of spammy links go back to this website, this draws attention of Google who in turn switches on the Spam Alert measures and damages the reputation and ranking of the concerned website.
5. A fake website?
This may be a little time consuming, but totally worth it. All you need to do is create a website with content exquisitely similar to your competitor’s. Keep in mind to get your content to be indexed first which implies that your competitor’s website is the duplicate one while you weave the intricate honeypot. Defending this kind of negative SEO is extremely difficult. When the search engines go about to indexing your competitor’s website content they come in second to yours and are ignored as duplicate.
6. The association fallacy
Create a spammy website just like your competitor; the trashier the better. Use a URL similar to your competitor’s and make sure to use the same hosting services too. Copy all the metatags and homepage content from your targeted website. Then throw in a few efforts to get your own spammy website banned. Now create a 301 redirect to your target’s website and watch their rankings sink like the Titanic.
7. Use up their budget with the Click Fraud
If your competitor uses adwords you can click on their advertisements to use up their budget. Google has a pretty strong mechanism of detecting such adfrauds, so it is better if you get a few people to click on 3-4 ads a day.
8. Bad press
Social Media is the strongest way to send a message; so when you tag a website as “Porn” or “Crackz” or “Viagra” it spreads like wildfire. You can also get your friends or teams to black tag your target websites on social networks like Facebook or MySpace. This is simply taking advantage of the Google Bowling features and real time ads on social websites. This technique is effective and hardly has any cons.
Denial of Service attacks is a hacking method that uses several computers to flood target website(s) with spammy requests which blocks the real traffic of the websites and hinders it from functioning. DDOS or distributed denial of service attacks if even more effective as the used thousands of zombie PCs to launch attacks on a single website. This has a long lasting impact as when Google tries to crawl a website and finds it unreachable. This usually results in damaged rankings and reduced real traffic.
10. Increasing Your Competitor’s Bounce Rate
Your website’s bounce rate directly affects its SERP ranks. The way Google sees it, if you do not spend a lot of time on a website it must be of lower quality. Thus simply clicking on your competitor’s website and quickly clicking the back button to return to the SERPs several times a single day, that particular webpage will have a high bouncing rate. Make sure you have more than one PC doing this from several IP addresses. This will ultimately push your competitor’s website down the SERPs.