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In the ever-evolving world of web or digital marketing, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest techniques, tools, and strategies. It’s no wonder people are confused about what can help and hurt their site’s search engine ranking. A good digital marketing agency will base their business on helping people navigate this complicated realm. Negative SEO is just another term complicating the mix. So, should you be concerned about attacks of negative SEO?

What is negative SEO?

Google is constantly updating its algorithm for identifying and penalizing malicious or untrustworthy websites. To do this, Google looks for sites that practice manipulative link building and penalizes them by demoting them from search results. This allows legitimate sites to rise to the top of its search engine result page (SERP), making it easier for people to find the information they are looking for.

Pointing poor quality links toward a website or otherwise defaming a website to lower its SEO is known as negative SEO.

Google’s algorithm is built to differentiate between natural and unnatural backlinks. It has the ability to recognize a site that has engaged in long-term, low-quality linkbuilding versus a site that has only occasionally dabbled in this practice–indicating it may be subject to negative SEO attacks. Even so, attacks do happen, and they could get you penalized. So how can you identify them?

What does negative SEO look like?

Negative SEO can come in several forms, including hacking, duplicating your website’s content and distributing it online, removing good links or building spammy links to your website, and linking your website with bad apples like online gambling sites, drugs, or porn.

Outdated tactics and link-building packages could also be at fault for your downgrade in Google’s ranking system. Cheap and spammy link-building tactics employed by some “SEO” companies could be hurting your site; especially since Google is now penalizing unnatural backlinks with its Penguin algorithm.

How to fight negative SEO

There are a few things you can do to thwart negative SEO if you are certain you have been attacked.

The Disavow Tool can be used to ask Google to disregard links that could be harmful to your site. Google warns that this tool is designed specifically for those who have identified a number of harmful links, negatively impacting the SEO of their site. If used incorrectly or unnecessarily the tool can actually be harmful, devaluing good links.

The best thing to do to ensure your site is being properly optimized is to engage the services of a trustworthy digital marketing agency. Any digital agency worthy of the title will know how to properly encourage linking to your site using high value content in order to gain natural, high-quality links. A good digital marketing agency will also be able to help you monitor your backlinks to prevent any penalty due to negative SEO.