Don’t Let the Negative SEO Grinch and Bad Marketing Ruin Your Business

December 22nd, 2016

There’s a dark side to SEO and digital marketing.

There’s back alley negative SEO attacks. Competitors belittling your services. Falsely created business reviews. And sometimes there’s just bad marketing choices being made.

On one hand, quality digital marketing offers a seemingly infinite potential to develop and provide more effective customer experiences. This user-centered approach means interacting with customers in a way that will give you an insight on what your targeted audiences want, thus improving customer satisfaction, retention, and ultimately, revenue.

But that’s when your digital marketing works ideally.

There’s also the flip side of the coin in which things can go – bad. That’s why you need the expertise and thoroughness of a team like Cobalt Digital Marketing. Of course we work to make sure your digital marketing strategy is running smoothly, but we also like to plan ahead for when the road gets bumpy.

So what are some of these stumbling blocks we prep you for? Well, there’s:

The Negative SEO Grinch

You’ve probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (though here at Cobalt we refer to it as Search Experience Optimization). But if you don’t keep up with digital marketing much, then you’ve probably never heard of negative SEO, which is the exact opposite of what you want happening.

Rather than increasing search visibility in Google (everyone’s favorite search engine), negative SEO is aimed at demoting your site’s search ranking, or in extreme cases, having it completely removed from search. There are a number of tactics that are used to produce these negative effects including: creating fake reviews, building a massive amount of unnatural links from illegitimate websites, spamming keywords, creating duplicate content, and even hacking sites.

While Google has developed some tools dedicated to helping prevent negative SEO attacks, there’s still the possibility of being penalized because of someone else’s malicious attacks on your site. There are some indicators that can help you to detect if an active negative SEO campaign has affected your rankings including:

  • Greatly reduced search traffic. A sudden drop in search traffic is a tell-tale sign of an negative SEO attack (assuming you haven’t been performing anything shady yourself). A drop from Google rankings means a drop in revenue, so keep an eye out for this.
  • Google will tell you to play fair. Google penalizes in two different ways – manually and algorithmically. An algorithmic penalty is only spotted by noticing that drop in traffic we already mentioned. A manual penalty means Google will send you a little love note explaining why they have taken action against your site.
  • Look at the anchors clouds for your site. Spammy anchors are frequently used by negative SEO practitioners to overwhelm your site. Terms like “cheap viagra” are frequently used to disrupt your website’s reputation.

Preventing a Negative SEO Attack

A penalized website can keep you out of business for months (which can really damage your reputation and revenue) so consider the following tips that can help prevent an attack:

  • Use Google Webmaster Tools Email Alerts. These alerts can notify you if: your website is being attacked by malware, your pages aren’t indexed, you’re having server connectivity problems, or you get a manual penalty from Google.
  • Keep an eye on your backlinks. This preventative measure is one of the most important steps to take to protect your site from spammers. Tools like Ahrefs or help you to track links (whether you gain or lose them).
  • Secure your website. You’ll want to protect yourself from hackers so consider using Google Authenticator Plugin for your WordPress website. Also, if your hosting company allows you to upload, check to see if it’s possible to install antivirus.
  • Monitor your social media profile. Sometimes, jealous competitors (read haters) might try to bring you down by creating fake accounts on social media using your company’s name. There’s also the possibility of falsely created reviews of your business that throw it in a negative light.
  • Play nice and don’t make enemies. There’s no reason you should be making online enemies. Arguing with clients (or anyone else for that matter) can lead to some hostile actions from others. Revenge has gone digital.
  • Don’t do negative SEO on yourself. You (or your inexperienced digital marketing team) can accidentally hurt your website by using techniques that are not acceptable to Google like:
  • Linking to penalized websites.
  • Building too many backlinks using “money” keywords.
  • Publishing a huge number of bad guest posts.

Negative SEO is alive and breathing so don’t make it any easier for malicious spammers and vengeful competition to break your business. While you can bounce back from an attack if you understand what steps to take, some small businesses aren’t so lucky.

Bad Digital Marketing Gets You a Lump of Coal

Digital marketing isn’t just about a pretty website and a fancy format. There area number of real world key metrics that need to be taken into account in order to make sure that your digital marketing strategies are effective.

Familiarizing yourself with key metrics provides insight that can help you overcome unpredictable situations. Failing to recognize the importance of these analytics can get you a nice hot heap of coal in your Christmas stocking, so pay attention to:

Total visits. Tracking this number gives you a “big picture” idea of how well your marketing campaign is doing. A sudden drop from one month to the next can help you identify and rectify any issues.

  • Channel-specific traffic. These metrics should include your direct, referral, organic, and social channels. Measuring these helps you to know where you’re going strong and where you might need to place some focus.
  • Bounce rate. This number gives you the percentage of visitors who visit your website and leave without further exploring. You’ll want this number to be low because the more time someone spends exploring your site, the higher the likelihood they’ll convert and take action.
  •  Keep an eye on conversions as this number allows you to track customer engagement on your site. This usually means filling out a form, clicking a download button, providing an email, creating an account, making a purchase, etc. Low conversions can relate to your site’s design, your product, or a lack of a targeted audience.
  • Search trends. Search trends help to guide you to the right keywords for your campaign (thus affecting your SEO).

A weak digital marketing strategy that fails to properly handle key metrics means you won’t be able to adjust your plans as needed and your revenue will start to fall – putting your business at a real risk of failure.

Do You Want to be Known as the Digital Bad Santa?

Your online presence speaks volumes about your business. Whether you guide that reputation is up to you.

The goal of an integrated digital marketing strategy is to establish a seamless online presence across web, social, and mobile that reflects your company’s vision and values. As mentioned earlier in the article, a truly malicious competitor might decide to play dirty and to smear your name with bad company reviews and negative SEO tactics.

That’s why you’ll need an experienced and analytical digital marketing team that can help you to develop a powerful brand message that defines the company’s core vision and value, as well as provide the technical support needed to ensure that when attacks do occur, your reputation and website can withstand the barrage.

A solid online presence should include:

A website tailored to your target audience with clean and clear navigation.

  • A social platform presence that serves as a two-way channel between your brand and consumers.
  • An integrated connection between all digital marketing channels that offers personalized experiences.
  • Content that informs, entertains, and adds value to your services

So are you in control of your online presence? If you’re not, then your competition just might be. And it’s a pretty safe bet that they’re making you out to be the bad Santa that can’t deliver on services.

Don’t Let the Negative SEO Grinch Steal Christmas

So we must admit that we did cover quite a bit of information here today, but if you’re still not sure why you need a competent team of professionals running your digital marketing campaign then consider this:

Digital marketing gets better Cost-Per-Lead compared to other marketing channels.

  • Digital marketing delivers conversion to leads, subscribers, and sales.
  • Digital is the future and provides small and medium enterprises revenue growth when done correctly.
  • Real-time digital marketing increases customer satisfaction, experience, and retention.
  • Digital marketing helps to cater to the ever growing mobile consumer.
  • Digital marketing builds brand reputation.
  • Digital marketing targets the right kind of people that ensure your business’s survival.

Get ready to make 2017 the best year with Cobalt Digital Marketing!