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Top 9 Negative SEO Attacks – Is Your Website Safe

According to the latest research, digital marketing is one of the rapidly growing industries all around the globe. Be it SEO, SMO, PPC, content writing or any other component of digital marketing, all of them are captivating users and benefiting businesses worldwide.

Most of us know that digital marketing is useful for individuals or organizations that are in the quest of accelerating their business, go-to-market, turnover or other business parameters. But, have you ever imagined that a Negative SEO attack can completely damage the online presence of your business and cause you a massive loss. Yes! It is a fact and in order to stay secured against negative SEO attack, we should begin by knowing what Negative SEO or negative seo services? So, let’s quickly dig into the matter.

What is Negative SEO and Top 9 Negative SEO Attacks          

Well! Negative SEO is an unethical (black-hat) methodology to harm your competitor’s ranking in the search results. In other words it includes various methods used for spoiling the online presence of any website.  When we discuss negative SEO, it includes a variety of methods, which are as following:

  • Building tons of spam back links of your website: In digital marketing, most of us believe that creation of back links on multiple websites is a good practice to boost your website’s ranking. Well! This information needs further tweaking. Creation of backlinks, created on spammy websites spoil your website’s reputation and may cause your website to even get into sandbox (A prison of spammy websites).
  • Creation or posting fake press release: In digital marketing world, creation and promotion of press release is considered one of the finest methods of connecting with your targeted audience. It certainly amplifies your website’s reputation online. But, in negative SEO techniques, attackers use fake news and promote the press release online with bad intent. They usually submit these press releases anonymously by choosing their premium service for placement and make payment through cryptocurrencies. Through this approach, they can easily highlight the negative news or create a fake story to disrupt the goodwill of any organization. Moreover, they also create back links pointing to harmful websites for further damage.
  • Unethical submission of articles: It is a known fact that content plays a vital role to connect with your targeted audience. But, how about that if attackers use the potential of content against the goodwill of your respective organization. People included in negative SEO practice often create misguiding content against your organization and post them with the help of fake accounts. They also purchase premium service of article submission websites for quick article approval.
  • Creation of low quality social links: However, social links do not have a major role of directly impacting your website’s ranking, as they are useful for link discovery. But in the upcoming days, Google is going to have surveillance on link submitters and their accounts if they are verified. Sharing your website’s links via known bot networks may result in an unpleasant results and cause link penalties.
  • Creation of Outbound links on Toxic websites: Creating outbound links on various toxic websites is yet another method used in negative SEO strategies. To stay safe against it, make sure to regularly disavow these links that can cause penalty to your website.
  • Canonical Injections: It is a process that lets hackers inject inapt content into any website via hacking or abusing website’s technical configuration. Here, hackers use a method, namely PWA (progressive web app) and associate the PWA with a target domain, via the hack. Furthermore, it can also be used to steal customer’s information as well. On the other hand, an attacker can also make changes to href settings to cause incorrect indexing issues.
  • Duplicate Content: It is one of the oldest methods of negative SEO techniques, which may return once again. The creation of duplicate content of the targeted webpage/website or copying its head section for unethical purpose can also lead to massive damage. So make sure to set the canonical tags of your website appropriately.
  • Inapt Use of AMP Pages: Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) is often used in negative SEO tricks to cause confusion among users as well as webmasters. Here, attackers create an AMP site with content (copied content of the targeted website along with more keyword stuffing and inclusion of adult phrases) with unethical objective. They use the rel=canonical tag of the targeted page in their pages to spoil the reputation of the targeted website.
  • Negative Reviews: Last, but not the least, posting negative reviews against any website is one of the widely used negative SEO methods. These reviews are posted by attackers either on the business listings of the targeted website or third party review websites. As a preventive measure against this attack, you can use Online Reputation Management (ORM) techniques.

Every technology has a dark side of it, which can be avoided if we follow the right practice. In order to stay secure against these negative SEO attacks, it is mandatory to evaluate your website on regular basis. Make sure to disavow undesirable links, watch out for warnings highlighted on search console along with preventive measures and monitor your website’s traffic daily. These methods certainly help you keep the negative SEO attacks at bay.

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Is Your Content Writing Company Offering Fake Reviews – Beware

In case your content writing company is providing you with fake reviews for the quick business promotion, then be cautious now instead of being sorry later. Let’s quickly put light on this breaking news and later we will know how a quality content writing company can help you drive your business more positively.

Here’s the breaking news published in the telegraph.co.uk

A man who used to compose illegitimate fake business reviews for Italian restaurants and hotels on an online travel website namely TripAdvisor has been imprisoned for nine months. Furthermore, he has to pay a fine of 8,000 euro (7,123.83 pounds). This man used to offer fake review service to the organizations to knock up their online promotion on the TripAdvisor’s webpage. In order to provide customers with 10 fake reviews, this man happened to charge an amount of 100 Euros.

“Writing fake reviews on TripAdvisor, has always been a violation of the law in many jurisdictions … but this is one of the first cases of enforcement resulting in a criminal conviction”, TripAdvisor said.

A recent analysis on fake business reviews uncovered thousands of fake reviews being submitted on TripAdvisor for fake business promotion. Businesses that were found violating review guidelines were panelized by Tripadvisor, which reduced their online presence.

How Your Content Writing Company Can Help You Get Positive Business Reviews

Your content writing company and the quality of your service play an instrumental role to boost positive reviews for your respective organization. Here are a few measures performed by a quality content writing company that give an edge to your online presence:

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Handling Negative Reviews Positively: It’s a known fact that every business gets positive as well as negative business reviews per their service. But, the ratio of these good or bad online reviews is the deciding factor in the ambit of online marketing. Trust is everything in business, which expands its horizons drastically. Hence, a quality content writing agency can help you build your product’s trust by writing positive response even against the negative posted for your business. They know how to imbibe sympathy, empathy and assurance in their response followed by freebies or other offers. Well! This strategy makes the customer delighted, so that they can recommend your service to others. This is how; you can increase your customers and satisfy the existing ones.

The Art of Responding to Positive Reviews: Well! It seems quite easy to respond to positive reviews. Right ?  Most of us do it by responding to them with a few pleasant words such as thank you, thanks, etc. But, the crisp is here as well. A lot of content strategists working for the best content writing agencies suggest that you need to make your customer feel special even if they are satisfied. And, it can only be done with the magic of your words. Address your customer with the blend of personalization, appreciation and up-selling pitch. If your customer is satisfied with one of your services, there are chances that they will be interested in other services too. Agree? Here comes the role of up-selling pitch wherein you have the opportunity to nurture your customer with additional services.

Be it personal life or the professional one, going through good or bad times is quite obvious. Yeah?  But, hiring a quality driven content writing company can certainly bring ease to your online reputation management for a better tomorrow.

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canonical-seo-attack

Canonical Negative SEO Attack – A Hidden Cyber Security Attack

Are you curious about the negative SEO attack for the heck of securing your online business? So far, you must have been associating cybersecurity attacks with computer network, servers, etc. That’s a right thought; no doubt about it. But, did you know that a negative SEO attack can also be as bad as a massive cybersecurity attack? Have you ever thought that if a spamming website is associated with your website purposely, it can spoil the reputation of your entire business? Isn’t it as bad as a cybersecurity attack? Well! It’s time to stay updated about the latest SEO trends because staying updated with the technology can result better web security.

 

Getting back to the point! Researchers have revealed another negative SEO attack, which is known as canonical negative SEO. It is certainly a tough nut to crack when it is about identifying the attacker. What is more worrisome is that there is hardly any way to quickly recover from it if the attacking website is unknown. However, this negative SEO attack is observed, but Google has not announced anything officially on closing this exploit until now. It is definitely a serious matter, and ignoring it can lead to devastating effects on the SERP of tons of websites worldwide.

The Story Behind Canonical Negative SEO Attack

Well! It all started from a company namely Hartzer consulting, a digital marketing firm situated in Texas wherein their client reported a massive drop in their website’s ranking. During the deep analysis of back links, this digital marketing firm identified a few back links that seemed suspicious. Hmm!

It seemed dicey because the client did not link their website to that suspicious website. Moving forward, they analyzed that doubtful website deeply made them identify the negative SEO website. Great that digital marketing agency was using the data mining website, Majestic that includes canonical data, which helped to figure out the negative SEO website. Now, let’s dig into the concept of canonical negative SEO for more information.

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What is Canonical SEO and How the Attack is Performed:

Right question at the right time- huh!.Yeh?

A url may have various versions, such as https://example.com or http://example.com, www.example.com. Etc. . Now, the canonical tag lets search engines understand your preferred URL, which also reduces the content duplication issue.

As per Google’s definition, canonical urls are used to consolidate link signals on your preferred url, placed under the canonical tag. Here is the syntax if your preferred canonical url is: https://www.example.com

“<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.example.com/” />”

In canonical SEO attack, the attacker copies the head section of the website containing canonical tag of the victim webpage and replaces it with the head of spamming website. Now in layman terms understand it as it tells Google that the spamming webpage belongs to the victim’s webpage. Right after this, Google assigns the negative SEO score from that spamming website to the victim website. Strategic process, Isn’t it?

The Facts about Canonical Negative SEO Attack

This attack has been encountered by a huge number of companies globally, but John Mueller from Google has dismissed it for now without deep investigation into this matter for now. On the contrary, his argument against this attack is contradicted by XML sitemap exploit, which was confirmed by Google a few days ago. Victims and publisher’s believe that Google is going to take some strict action against this canonical exploit, which needs to be addressed seriously. Hope it happens soon before any further damage.

Possible Solution if Canonical Exploit is Confirmed by Google

So far it is not acknowledged by Google, but evidences have proven it as a negative SEO attack. Hope it is going to be confirmed by Google as a flaw. The possible solution for the search engines is to update the specifications associated with canonical tag. Let’s hope for the quick move by Google.

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How to Combat Fake Negative Reviews – A Negative SEO Attack

How to handle the fake negative reviews and secure business from this negative SEO attack? Well! It is one of the most common questions, being asked by a massive number of entrepreneurs all around the globe.

The competition in today’s business verticals has become like an F1 track wherein those top-notch configured racing cars have a common objective called winning. Instead of following the legit methods or apt process parameters, their target is merely to stand out in the competition. They target the business listings of their competitors by posting negative reviews against them. Well! It is certainly not a good business practice.

Have you ever imagined the consequences of negative reviews posted against your product or services? Being a customer, will you ever think of buying a product or service from the company that has negative online reviews posted against it on various online platforms? Most of you will it as “No”. Right? Now, place yourself in the shoes of a company, which has either come across negative SEO attack or perhaps natural negative reviews.  Coming under this situation can make you lose business for sure.

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Let’s leave this philosophy aside for now and come back to our core objective, which is fake negative reviews – Negative SEO Attack.

Well! By negative SEO, we mean an unethical practice used by your competitors to spoil your online ranking. And, posting negative reviews against any company is one of the components of Negative SEO attack. On the contrary, when we discuss real negative reviews, we need to understand that they are received because of lack in the quality of our products /services. According to updates mentioned in Searchengineland.com and neilpatel.com, fake reviews are becoming one of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurs globally. All, it takes is, create a fake account and post negative comments against any product/service. These reviews are usually posted on Google business listing or third party websites. However, Google has various policies against fake negative reviews, but still you must strategically monitor and respond each and every review posted for your organization.

Limitations with Reviews on Google

Google reviews are known to be the deciding factor for the purchases made by tons of users all over the world. Well! There is no qualm about it. But, the challenge here is, it accepts anonymous access of users, who can really spoil your reputation with minutes. Your years of expertise in your niche can become zero with a few bad reviews. On the other hand, it is not mandatory for a user to be your customer for posting a negative review against your product or organization. In other words, without even buying your product or service, they are free to post review for your product/service.

Good News against Fake Negative Reviews on Google

Well! If you have come across fake negative reviews against your company, then here is a chance to smile again. My digital marketing team, diligently spend time on the reviews posted for our clients. And, the best part is, continuously tracking fake negative reviews can help you create a solid case for how/why the reviews are violating the guidelines.  You can get those false negative reviews removed by connecting with Google via Facebook, Twitter or flagging them as inappropriate on Google.

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My Case Study of Fake Negative/Bad Reviews and the Right way to Respond:

Be it any business, having negative reviews against your company is certainly a matter of being upset. But, the right approach to fix it is, to keep your mind cool to create the right strategy against it. One of my clients received more than 10 negative reviews against their company within a time span of four minutes. And, most of them were only star ratings instead of the complete review. Since, the customer base of my respective client was limited and they had a crisp customer list, I immediately understood that it was a negative SEO attack.

Guide on how to Remove Fake Negative Reviews from Google – My Action Plan

I posted this observation on Facebook and Twitter on behalf of my client. And, fortunately I got an overwhelming response from a huge number of users. Some of them were customers of my client and a few of them were friends/co-workers.

The post was as following:

Dear user! Who tried spamming my business listing this evening with bogus/fake review, a kind of negative SEO attack – It could have been better to use some meaningful username instead of using this fake looking username. Thank you for stopping by my business listing though!

If you are good at your products or services, you can certainly have people or fans who stand by you in tough times. Right?

The same thing happened with my client as well. The customers who saw this post had understood this negative SEO attack issue and provided them with many positive reviews. Furthermore, they flagged those reviews as inappropriate. The point here is that we did not ask for positive reviews from anyone, it happened because of my client’s positive goodwill in the market. I just narrated the real story on social media. This is how, the energy of attacker must have depleted.

In case you encounter the same negative seo attack, you can also ask your team to flag that particular review as inappropriate. But make sure to do it as a separate user from different IP addresses.

Was the Negative Review Removed from Google

In my case, the negative reviews were removed. But, I have seen a few instances wherein Google denied removing the negative reviews. If I would have come across the same, I had another plan as well. Well! It is based on responding to those negative reviews by offering 200% refund as a goodwill gesture. And, you know that the double of zero remains zero. LOL!

Moving forward to the real negative reviews; In case you have received them, it is advisable to answer them with extreme care and patience. Let’s quickly discuss the real negative reviews posted on Google.

How to Respond and Remove Bad/Negative Reviews From Google – Local Business Listing:

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Please be informed that here, we are discussing real negative reviews instead of fake negative reviews. So, here are ingredients that you must have in your curry of fighting against negative reviews:

Identification:  Figure out the problem that made your customer post the negative review on Google.

Acknowledge: Acknowledge the mistake if there was some flaw in your service or the quality of product. It will certainly move your customers towards positive conversation ahead.

Sympathy, Empathy and Apology: You should include the statements encompassing sympathy, empathy and apology in response to the negative review. (e.g., Dear customer, we are extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused to you owing to our product/service. If we were in this situation, we would have felt the same.)

Resolution: Right after adding the flavor of sympathy, empathy and apology, you need to provide your customer with the right resolution to make them contended again. It can be a full refund, any freebies or additional service as a goodwill gesture.

Assurance: The foundation of sales is led by the building block of trust in your product/service. Make sure to assure your respected customer that this issue is being notified to the higher authorities and is/will be fixed forever.

Sales Pitch: Right after resolving the issue, you can again courteously ask your customer to reuse your service and refer others to use it.

Google has been working really hard to identify the fake negative reviews to boost the customer’s experience. It is expected that it will roll out the enhanced version of Google reviews algorithm, which will be more secured and justified than ever before. So, stay confident, passionate and updated to set your own boundaries in your business arena.

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