Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of driving traffic to a webpage via organic search engine results. Employing a solid SEO strategy has become a necessity for online businesses.
The problem is, it’s slow – terribly slow. It can take months before your search engine ranking improves. If you stick with it, however, you’ll reap the reward of a steady flow of organic traffic. Unfortunately, patience seems to be in short supply these days. Some businesses are willing to exploit search engine loopholes to rank faster.
That’s where Black Hat SEO enters the picture. As the name implies, Black Hat SEO is the darker side of SEO, where underhanded tactics are used to trick search engines into ranking your site higher and faster.
That said, Black Hat SEO is hardly worth the effort anymore, especially with Google’s ability to catch black hatters in the act. You can ask just about anyone. That’s not a position you want to find yourself in. Your black hat endeavors could end with your website pushed down into oblivion (let’s say page five), or outright de-indexed.
So, new tactics are being used to exploit SEO. This time, however, your business is the target.
A new threat
It’s common knowledge that Black Hat SEO is a surefire way to find yourself in Google’s crosshairs. With that thought firmly in mind, malicious actors now focus their efforts on targeting their competitors with black hat strategies.
Some of the more common black hat tactics include:
- Spamming dozens (if not hundreds) of low-quality links back to your website.
- Creating social media profiles and spreading false information about your business.
- Pointing links from unrelated websites back to your site.
- Copying and pasting your website content to post throughout the web to create duplicate content.
The aforementioned tactics will eventually catch the eye of Google’s algorithm, and you’ll suddenly find yourself the target of its scrutiny. If the attacks continue, don’t be surprised if you find your number one spot on Google reduced to the second page (or beyond).
With black hat spammers changing their tactics, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to guard yourself against an attack. So, do you just lie down and let malicious spammers destroy your business? Of course not! It’s only natural to fight back.
Tools to fight back against spammers
The idea of someone targeting your site with black hat SEO tactics can be unsettling. Thankfully, there are a number of ways for you to fight back. If you find yourself the target of a black hatter’s scorn try these tools on for size:
Cognitive SEO – Allows you to easily spot every backlink that points to your site, allowing you to eliminate links that may be fraudulent.
Monitor Backlinks – Allows you to catch spam in the act by sending out regular reports of every new backlink that points back to your site.
Authority Labs – Provides a list of keywords your site is ranking for. Any suspicious drop in ranking may be an indication that you’ve been targeted by a spammer.
Even Google has its own tool that allows you to disavow malicious links. But even with these tools at your disposal, being the target of a spammer can severely harm your search engine ranking.
That’s why it pays to be vigilant at all times. The earlier you catch on to suspicious activity, the quicker you can put an end to it before your business pays the price.
Black hat spammers never play by the rules, which means you need to be ever vigilant. Tools like Cognitive SEO and Monitor Backlinks are great for catching criminals in the act, but they’re far from a perfect solution.
Your best strategy to focus on solidifying your reputation. Engage on your social media pages, encourage your customers to leave online reviews, and provide excellent customer service. One thing black hat spammers can never displace is a deeply rooted reputation.
With billions of sites on the web, your chances of being targeted are slim. However, it never hurts to be prepared. Stay ahead of the curve by proactively looking for threats to guard against anyone who may seek to do your online business harm.