Google rankings have always been competitive. As Google's algorithm has become more complex, so too have companies in their negative SEO practices. Negative SEO is the practice of maliciously trying to drag down or cause harm to a competitor site through black hat methods. Here are three negative SEO tips to look out for.
1. Redirected Bad Domain
Backlinks affect your ranking. We know this from the Panda update, but what about redirects? Redirect, in its purest form, is a way to forward Google and visitors from one URL to another. It is used to denote page deletions, domain name changes, and websites merging. However, there have been instances of black hat companies using this to their benefit by redirecting spammy sites to a competitor's URL. This now means that those spammy sites with penalties then pass those penalties on to a competitor's URL. So how do you detect this? Google will notify you if it detects any malicious redirects by sending you a message in Search Console.
2. Bad Rel=Canonical
Rel=Canonicals are simply links that let you tell a search engine that the information of specific URLs are similar or the exact same. If you have content or products that can be found on different websites or URLs, you can tell Google they are identical without it affecting your site. Similarly to the first technique, search engines will associate the penalized or spammy site to your site. Unlike the first one, it may take some digging to find out if this is what is happening to you. It is tough to detect unless you have the tools to identify Rel=Canonicals.
3. Hacked Search Console
The last on this list of negative SEO techniques is hacking Search Console. Black hat companies will try to hack your Google Search Console for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons include being able to change site location targeting, deleting the disavow file, messing with UTM parameters, etc. Somebody can do great damage to your site by getting access to your Search Console, so be on the lookout for any emails of someone requesting access you may not know. Monitoring who has acess and reading all you messages from Search Console is a good defense.