Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not only one of the best strategies for online marketing but also one of the most effective ways to increase website’s visibility. On the community of Internet with millions of people, they use Google and other search engines in finding the best solution and products or services they need, and SEO is a virtual companion on any online journey.
Optimizing a certain keyword will help the website achieve a higher ranking on search engine result page (SERP) that generates more organic traffic for the website. With the uprising competition between online users daily, it is not a surprise that companies are employing unethical SEO practices against their competitors to get them penalized by the big G.
If something is not right in your website and suspicious performances are observable, such undesirable practices are known as Black Hat SEO and it usually works by:
- Targeting the competitor’s website with the intention of sabotaging and invalidating their ranking on any search engines
- Designed to make it look like the competitor is doing the black hat linking techniques to improve their search engine performance and get penalized by Google.
Basically, it processes as a workaround Google SEO algorithm to detect and punish websites on a ground failure adhering to the rules of SEO. Black Hat SEO practices could take on different forms such as:
- Copying the content from your web pages and publishing it elsewhere
- Creating poor, suspicious quality links that redirect to your website
- Fabrication of fake or troll profiles on social media to tarnish your online reputation
- Using erotic and spamming words as an anchor text for the link to terminate your website
- Contacting the webmasters to remove highly valued backlinks on your website
- Hacking your website
Even Google is having difficulties in distinguishing black hat SEO to actual spamming. It is up to the webmasters to regularly monitor the website to find out if they have been attacked by a bad SEO. High performing websites are the main targets for such attack and here is a list on how you can detect if your website has been targeted.
Here are few things to observe and necessary actions to take whenever it happens on your website
A Sudden Drop In Web Traffic
If you did not violate any Google algorithms and there is a sudden decline in traffic, you could be a victim of black hat SEO. It is important to always monitor the traffic coming to your website and use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console (GSC) that are very helpful on these regards.
Perform A Backlink Audit
If you are being penalized by Google, this is due to the spammers that keep on building low-quality links to your website. Therefore, perform a backlink audit if you feel your performance on Search Engine is not at its optimum best. There are tools you can use to aid this problem like Ahrefs, Open Site Explorer and GSC.
Always Manage The Reviews
This is one of the attacks a black hat SEO can do. It is when spammers perform unethical actions and techniques to discredit your website that will result in low credibility. Webmasters should keep track and monitor their mentions on Google My Business to distinguish a genuine review to a fake one.
Be Careful Of Duplicate Content
Google usually delist websites that have matching contents, and this happen when you regularly post quality content on your website, then spammers or competitors will immediately duplicate your work and claiming it as their own, which is a great loss to your ranking on search engines.
How To Counterattack Black-Hat SEO
When you notice that your website has been targeted by spammers, here are a few steps to do to get the situation under control
1. Organize And Manage Your Data
After collecting significant data concerning the attack of black hat SEO on your website from GSC and other related tools, copy the data into a sheet to make it easier to identify the link owners and to assure that you don’t have any duplicate on that link, use the “Remove Duplicates” button to save only one URL link.
2. Remove Bad Links And Contact The Webmasters
Once you already identified the links that should be removed, kindly contact the webmasters of those websites and make a request to remove any link affiliated to you. If you are not able to find any contact email, use WHOIS Lookup to find one.
3. Disallow Spammy Links
If the aforementioned methods still didn’t work, create a list of all spammy links and submit it to GSC as it will add a tag to the spammy links and with that, Google Algorithms will not use the links anymore to credit your website either positively or negatively.
To achieve a higher rank in search engines is not easy and all your efforts will bear no fruit if you are the target of black-hat SEO attacks. If you failed to protect your website from the negative SEO attack, the few things discussed above are the basic actions you should credit in to battle out unethical actions from your competitors.