Let’s not kid ourselves; there has always been a possibility for negative SEO. Our problem is that Google has turned it into a valid way to beat the competition and a new SEO service on offer.
What are the Negatives?
Negative SEO is a combination of links from untrusted sources and highly optimised anchor text. It is very easy to carry out, however most of the problems are still coming from SEO companies working on client sites – this is why you must have a report each month that details the links they say they have placed – URL and anchors.
Getting links to your website is not solely a numbers game – it never has been, even though it has been viewed and sold that way.
How Vulnerable is your Website?
Keeping things at a high level, there are a few statistics to check with your links:
- Anchor Text
- Links per domain
- Trust Flow and Citation Flow
If you have a high concentration on only a few anchors and very little anchors using your company or domain name, you have a potential problem.
If you have lots of links per domain that is a red flag – site wide links can get you penalised, especially if you have too many of them and they have a high keyword focus.
Low Trust Flow and Citation Flow: essentially you are getting links from low quality sites – I refer back to the point earlier – this is not a numbers game.
How to Protect Your Site
Get good relevant links – in some ways nothing has changed in SEO, it has always been this way. This also includes the links to deeper pages. Good quality links to the home page and spam links to the inside pages is one of the attribute of sites that have been penalised by Google Panda.
The usual link graph for company websites is for their link anchors to be their company name or domain name – having a very high percentage of anchors using these is the first point. The second is a combination of the first and these links coming from good sources.
For example I really don’t want links from cheap-free-spam-directory.com – 100’s of these will just kill a website. What I really want is good quality industry sources, quality blog reviews, media mentions, and being in the same link graph as my competitors if those links are worthwhile – and on top of that lots of links that mention my company name – these might be middle of the road links, but stay away from crap.
On top of this have your SEO Company monitor links and rankings as they will know the danger signals – disavow anything odd using GWT.
However don’t help in your own downfall; make sure you see all your new links each month.