Ever since the release of the Google Penguin update, many webmasters have grown worried with their believed bleak future of SEO, especially when they started to experience a fall in their rankings. Although this can be caused by negative SEO, it is mostly not the main cause of the ranking drop. Therefore, they have not been affected by negative SEO
Broadly defined, the term “negative SEO” means any malicious act that is done to harm the rankings of your site. But when the Penguin update is considered, it means that someone launched an effort in an attempt to make your link profile bad. This is mostly done by hitting you with numerous black-hat and low-quality links across a massive number of domains.
A security breach on your site can he managed and handled quickly. However, when the attacks are link-based, it can get a little trickier. Its cure may be even worse than the problem at hand so that even if you have fought and eliminated the threat, your SEO efforts can be set back for months.
Signs and Symptoms
If you find out one day that your rankings have suddenly dropped, you need to first take a step back and assess the problem. If you do the wrong solution for the problem, it can be a waste of time and money. Worse, it can even worsen it.
If your competitor is attacking your link profile, you are bound to see unexplainable low-quality links from various root domains. There has to be a large-scale pattern so that negative SEO happens in only a matter of weeks. There are actually tools that you can use to get views of your link profile. Examples include the Google Webmaster Tools and Open Site Explorer.
But even if there is an increase in malicious links, its impact is mostly just temporary. Google can spot such attacks and can get them quickly discounted or removed. Negative SEO can be very hard and many attempts fail.
If someone is really determined to put you down and willingly spend time and money for it, they will most likely do big damage. You can frequently monitor your links and build up wall of defenses but these are not cost-effective ways to prevent negative SEO attacks.
So what is your best defense against these malicious acts? A clean and authoritative link profile. Google will look into your pattern and link histories. If you have a strong site with high-quality links, doing damage in a short time will be very hard. Websites that are most prone to these attacks are those that are new as well as those that have engaged in low-quality link building.
In short, do good SEO. Negative SEO does exist and you should not be downplayed but this is still a very rare occurrence these days. Besides, most SEO problems are self-inflicted, even after the Penguin update. Start with those that you can control and build a better trap. This is your best defense from things that you competition can use against you.