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What is Negative SEO and why it is important to defend yourself

SEO is a set of techniques used with the aim of making a website easily interpretable by Google so as to position it at the top of the SERP for certain keywords, as well as for the authority and quality of the site itself.

Negative SEO, on the other hand, is represented by a set of activities that aim to damage the positioning of the search engine of a specific web portal. These are especially extreme SEO techniques to be identified very quickly by the Google algorithm and thus make the site in question lose positions.

Probably this practise began with the introduction in 2022 of the Google Penguin algorithm which still today penalizes all websites that receive unnatural backlinks, i.e. inconsistent with the subject matter or coming from foreign sites or from sites with a high level of spam. Negative SEO is therefore mainly based on negative backlinks aimed at a site with the aim of damaging it.

How many types of SEO Negatives are there?

Over time, various Negative SEO activities were born, here are the main ones.
• Negative backlinks: These are mainly spam links. A single link of this type obviously cannot have such an impact as to cause a site to lose rankings, but that is why there are real link farms: a group of sites connected to each other by links. Link farms are often used to create thousands of links with dangerous anchors creating ranking penalties.
• Negative citation: in this case, the name of the targeted website is cited, without the presence of links, by one or more spam sites so as to confuse Google and damage its reputation.
• Negative spanning: among the techniques of Negative SEO there is also the one that involves the duplication of the contents of a website and publishing them on a second or third site. In this case, Google’s Panda algorithm, created specifically to identify content reproduced on multiple URLs, intervenes. Also in this case, link farms can intervene by exponentially increasing duplication on many sites.
• Hacking: A hacker attack can lead to a site being penalized on the SERP. Google, in fact, tends to protect its users and to do so it drops the URL as quickly as possible.

How do you fight a negative SEO attack?

Fighting a Negative SEO attack may not be easy and it is therefore important to periodically monitor your website in particular in relation to backlinks. To do this, just do a quick check with the different link analysis tools such as Majestic, SEMRush or the Google Search Console itself. The elements to consider in a site analysis are the name and extension of the domain (e.g. foreign) and anchor text that is inconsistent with the topic of the victim site. Once negative links have been identified, they must be disabled through Google’s Disavow Tool.

If the attack by Negative SEO refers to duplication of content, you can use the Copyscape tool to find out. Once identified, you can file a copyright infringement complaint with Google. Finally, protecting the site in a preventive way from possible hacker attacks is also important for SEO positioning.

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