The opposite of SEO optimization efforts is negative SEO. This is when your rankings fall, not because of your misdeed, but because your competition has influenced your ranking to affect it negatively.
However, you should note that not all drops in rankings are attributable to an unscrupulous act of your competitors. There could be other causes.
Generally, negative SEO is off-page and as such, there could be activities like content shipping, reposting and link building that is unnatural and could lead to negative SEO.
There are also negligent cases of on-page activities like content modification and hacking. Here are some ways in which negative SEO can affect your business.
An influx of negative reviews is bad for your rankings and your business too. Manipulation of reviews is very easy and so it is the most common thing in negative SEO.
Negative reviews can affect your business if not immediately taken care of. This is because when anyone searches your products, they will get a negative report from people who ‘have used your brands’.
However, it’s against Google policies for any outsider to post research for your products on behalf of others or to misrepresent your business identity. Therefore, these reviews are easily removable through a few simple steps.
A competitor may decide to crash your site by forcefully crawling it and thus causing heavy server overload. When this happens repeatedly, you may be de-ranked.
Besides ranking, it will cause your website to slow down and hence, even before you’re de-ranked, users will rarely get to your site because it will be too slow.
Even redirecting to the landing page alone will take too long and no one has the time to wait for results while there are other faster sites with solutions.
Most business owners always think that they will be able to notice immediately their content changes however, that is not always the case. This is because competitors using negative SEO can alter the redirect links and add spammy content.
Some content is hidden and therefore you’ll barely notice if it changes until you look in the code. This will have a drop in ranking. Furthermore, it may also yield negative reviews. This is because a person with ill intentions only adds links that will adversely affect your business.
Most people do not believe that clicks have an effect on the rank signal, but they do. There have been real-life experiments that have proven so. A low click-through rate can therefore, get your site de-ranked while an unusually high CTR will boost rankings.
Click fraud could include actions like programming a CTR bot for main branded terms and keywords to dwell only on specific things. This will eventually hurt your ranking.
Final Thoughts On Negative SEO
Negative SEO can have extreme disadvantages to your business given that it’s meant to destroy your ranking on search engines. This will affect the traffic you get to your site and consequently your business.
The only way to deal with it is to keep monitoring the behavior of your site. This way you can identify any malfunction and fix anything abnormal straight away.