How to be proactive and prevent a negative SEO campaign — Part 3
There is no such thing as being negative SEO-proof, says contributor Joe Sinkwitz. All you can do is take steps to lessen the probability of becoming a victim. Here's how to reduce attack vectors and protect your site.
In previous articles, we discussed what is and isn’t negative SEO and how to determine if you’ve actually been hit by negative SEO. With the basics out of the way, it’s now time to look at how you can keep your website safe from negative SEO (search engine optimization) campaigns.
To start, I have some bad news: There is no such thing as being hackproof.
And there is no such thing as being negative SEO-proof!
All you can reasonably do is take action to lessen the probability of becoming a victim by reducing attack vectors. This way, anyone seeking to do harm has to be more sophisticated and put forth a greater effort than they would against an average website.
In this installment of our negative SEO series, we will segment SEO into three areas: content, links and user signals and focus on protecting each, as well as your site overall, from being a victim of negative SEO.
Content and infrastructure
Hosting. What can your host do to keep you out of trouble? Quite a bit, actually. I debated including hosting as a user signal vector, but there’s another critical factor at play with this specific recommendation: reputation.
If you were to address 100 percent of all the issues in this article, yet you happen to be on a shared IP with a dozen other domains which are flagged for distributing malware or are blocked by email spam detection services or are subject to manual link actions from Google, you’re in for a bad time.
You will, at a minimum, want to ensure you have a dedicated IP for a domain you care about, and ideally, have the site on its own dedicated server.
Another advantage of not sharing a hosting server? It becomes one fewer attack vector anyone trying to execute negative SEO can employ. Their not being able to gain access to your hosting through a less security-minded domain on the same host makes you are a little safer.
CMS considerations. Not all content management systems (CMS) are equal. Some will automatically auto-spawn regular, archive and separate image pages when you attempt to create a single page. Some will automatically allow dofollow commenting on posts, which is an open invitation to spam.
Since the majority of the world’s websites run on WordPress, disabling comments, adding noindex to tag pages, author archive pages and category pages makes sense to me. Some will disagree, but my focus is on attempting to index and rank high-value pages only, a hurdle that tag, archive and category pages rarely clear.
With certain content management systems, it is important to ensure proper ca…