What is negative SEO ? Is there a such thing exists ?
Yes. There is. As a fact, there are quite a few techniques that exist to discredit or debase a website and its rank. We will discuss briefly about each in this post. These are not only advanced tech topics but also unethical.
We highly recommend not using these against other websites.
Bad / Low Quality Backlinks
This technique is growingly popular. There are some websites with a sole purpose of being bad at content, structure and links. When they link your website with theirs (anchor tag with follow links), they will act as bad influence on your website. Search engines will start to rank you lower with a growing links like these. If not acted in time, your site will be sandboxed. Sandboxing is a term coined for websites that are not in search results but appears when exact name is typed. This should not be confused with de-index which we will go over in malware ridden sites
Tools like Google's Search Console and SEMRush will give you enough data about backlinks. Check in every week at least to track who is linking to your website. When a backlink website cease to exist, they become a broken backlink. Overcome this issue by posting new content more frequently or by redesigning your website. This will increase the search engine crawl rate and by which the broken links are removed much faster.
This type of technique is employed by a person who is vengeful. A simple one line of code will make your site disappear in search results. For this technique to work, they need access to your site or they had access to your site previously. Have your web admin double check the Robot.txt file before launching the website and bolster the site security to restrict any backdoors
When your original content is replicated in bunch of websites, you loose credibility online to a point where you wont rank anymore. Either contact those websites or double your SEO efforts to overcome this issue. A quality website's content is almost always ranked since its deemed as original content.
DDOS is a employed by hackers to take a site down. Why they do it? Vengeance? Practice? Would be hacker? Fun? . The reasons are almost endless. Websites are also ranked based on their uptime (a term describes a website availability in percentage).
If your site goes down for a day, its a scar.. two days, its a wound... a week, its a death sentence.
There are online tools such as SEMRush, Pingdom etc that check the availability of website constantly and notify you if its down.
This is hard to tackle but the damage can be minimized. Ever heard of the phrase
"Cant win every time"
"Cant make everybody happy"
Well, when you get a bad review, always respond to it in a calm and professional fashion. More over, if you think the review is hateful, you can always flag the review and contact Google / Yelp / Facebook for its removal.
Malware is nothing but a software code that runs on the host machine to do things that are unethical. For this type of technique to work, the person should have access to your site. Weakly secured hosts are susceptible for there type of hacks. Always host your website with a well reputed hosting company. We've discussed this topic in detail here
SEO Companies are prone to this. Search engines are getting smarter day by day. If a site is over optimized or designed for a search engine, it will stop performing.
"Design the site for user. Not for search engines".
There is a sweet point where the optimization should stop.
10 Things That Other Hosting Companies Are Not Telling You
In a nut shell, web hosting is a place where your website lies. When an online user types your website URL in the browser, the hosting company will respond by sending information to the browser for you to view the site. It might seem simple, but there is a lot going on in the background
1. Host Location
The Web Server ("server") location is very important if you are concerned about SEO. Some hosting providers will avoid this question or give you the impression that it is not a big deal, but in fact it is extremely important. Websites coming from data centers in other countries will be slower than those websites coming from the same location as the end-user. We all know, slower websites mean less traffic, and less traffic means less business.
2. Domain Neighborhood
A server can host multiple websites and this number depends on the capacity of the server. Typically, low price hosting providers will have huge servers with thousands (if not millions) of websites on them to keep their cost low. So, if your site is on a server with a spam or malware ridden sites, this can also impact you in a negative way. Your website should be on a server with only the number of sites it can handle with proper speed and consistent uptime.
Uptime is usually measured in percentage. A 99% uptime is good for a good rank in google. Some hosting companies will shut the server in off peak times to keep their cost as low as possible. Which is good for them but not so good for you. In their minds “Who would notice?”. In our minds “Google will notice!”.
4. Website Design Builders
Some Hosting Services give the impression that websites are DIY. Not if you want to rank on google. The science behind SEO is vast and complex that only a professional will be able to tackle. The problem comes when things are done in the wrong fashion such as 1) too many H1-tags, 2) keyword stuffing, 3) cloaking, 4) schema abuse, 5) unnecessary or useless backlinks.... the list is endless. Keeping up with proper SEO techniques is a full-time job, as Google makes changes and updates frequently.
5. Malware Protection
Malware Protection can be pricey and is usually not included in the basic package plans. Google de-indexes a hacked site and will notify an end-user with a warning message that “Visiting this site may harm your computer!”. God forbid if this happens to you! Getting back up and running can take days but getting back the rank will take months.
6. Site file structure
Here, it gets a little technical but I will keep it simple. If your site content is buried deep inside the folders of the server (in server's hard disk), it makes it harder for the server to deliver the information back to Google. There is a proper and optimal file structure for speed and performance. In order to do this, your hosting provider should provide this as part of their service, but in our experience most do not.
7. Non-Maintained WordPress Sites
Believe it or not, non-maintained WordPress sites are a hacker's haven. You may have heard about DOS / DDOS which can be done easily that will knock your site down for days or months if one is not paying attention. A would-be hacker will practice on your site, an expert will get into you site and a ransom-ware will hold your site hostage. An expert Web Hosting firm needs to monitor and response to any issues that may arise . . . and they do . . . every month.
CDNs (Content delivery network) are just mini servers that are located all over the United States and other countries which provide the user with faster data access to your website. CDN integration can get real technical and if not implemented correctly, then they will not be used, hence a slow site. As we mentioned previously, Google prefers faster websites as well as they tend to convert into business more effectively.
9. Email reputation
Hosting companies usually give out free or trial domain-based emails. If not hosted with a reputed hosting, your email will trigger the spam filters and the emails you send out may end up in a spam / junk folder. We recommend using Google suite for domain based emails.
10. Server Reputation
Every server has an IP address such as 22.214.171.124 and google sees this. Digital marketing companies usually have their own servers. In the case of TotalHousehold Inc, all our clients’ websites are in the Home Improvement & Construction Industry. That means our server’s reputation with Google is that one of a fast, dedicated, and well-maintained server with a proper file structure, uptime, and structural SEO techniques. This is a huge advantage for any Home Improvement professional that wants to capitalize on the opportunity.
THPro is proud to announce a new server with major upgrade in its security and speed. Due to a constant battle against brute forces and data reconnaissance by hackers, we are compelled to up our security in a fashion that makes it very hard to break/hack into our servers.
To switch over your current site to the new web server, please call us (800)-325-4315
In coming weeks, we are rolling out our own products which will help our clients not only feel safe but also to take full advantage of our craftmanship
- Total Secure Site: Take an aggressive stance against malware and hacking attempts against our servers, and by extension, Websites. We are also launching our own CDN to deliver the web content across the internet with very minimum latency and lightning speeds
- SSL / HTTPS / TLS: We now offer fully integrated HTTPS / SSL for your website. Encrypt your website and reap the benefits. Google recently announced that secure websites rank higher than their un-secured ones.
- Chat: We understand how important it is to capture every visitor on your website and convert into a sale. So, by providing a live chat panel on your website, you can increase your sale conversions by engaging the client when the opportunity arises. The chat feature is available via a desktop and mobile interface.
- Merchant Accounts: Card transaction play a major role in your business constituting for about 40% of small business transactions. Why not accept the cards on site? Coming soon with an Android and iOS app to facilitate those needs.
- Market Place: Help others and grow together! Give us the leads that you don’t want and we will give it others in need of it. We are developing a Lead Market Pool because we know how hard it is to capture a lead, don’t let it slip away.
Release data: TBA
WordPress Safety For Server Admins
This topic is for agencies that has WordPress (here in WP) as their platform to hold their clients' websites. Multi-site especially. WP is famous and as you know, fame draws lot of attention. In world of web, we are talking about hacking attempts and brute forces. It is very important to protect your server with any kind of attack. So, in this post, I will go through some information that no other company shares!
So Sit tight! . . . Read the article . . . and forget everything you just read. . . Not!!
Before you attempt to tackle this process prepare with the following; a) try to understand the way WP works, b) know the software that is needed to run on your server, c) security precautions, etc. We have clients that come to us with a virus attacked site or a malware injected sites because they went with a low cost, unreliable hosting provider where their c-block is shared with millions of others. The bad news is, if you are not technically savvy, google is penalizing your website and even provide you with a nice "Un-trusted website !!" warning when people try to visit your website. So, I highly recommend anyone to research and understand how WP works.
The following recommendations are for NGINX server admins. WP works with Apache and Nginx but I prefer the latter because its fast, reliable, non-blocking and easy to create server blocks. Too much flexibility!
For server admins:
- Check the logs: The server logs typically located at
Look in access.log and error.log. Investigate the IP's and the paths. I'm sure you will find multiple post requests to wp-login / wp-admin and xmlrpc.php. Block those attempts and save bandwidth.
- Expensive operation: Compared to all the processes a server does, writing to a file is considered expensive process because it uses considerable amount of CPU and RAM. So, why not turn of logging and give more power to the server to respond to the incoming requests. Logging is found at /etc/nginx/nginx.conf . Comment out the current log paths and add following
access_log off; error_log off;
- Rate Limit: This is where you limit the number of requests hitting your server. Limit it something like 10 requests / second and 10 mb per request. Research on its implementation because there are many variables associated.
- Limit access to login portal: It is super easy to find out if you have WordPress installation and all it takes to add "/wp-admin" or "/wp-login" at the end of url and bam! I got the login screen. If you don't protect this screen with who can access it, its like an open invitation for hackers. And again, research the ip protected implementation. Typically, this is done at /wp-login directive in server block. You can allow the IP's you trust and deny the rest.
Can I Build My Own Website? Seems Easy Enough.
Website design has grown to new heights. It’s not only the appealing look and intuitive navigation, but also the content that goes on a page. There are so many attributes associated with it that I can write a book about it. Here are the few things to consider while designing a page.
Skill Level - 1 (Generally Tech Proficient):
- Follow the SEO rules by moz before starting anything
- Don’t overload the page with super high resolution images that takes lot of time to download. When is the last time you waited more than 5 seconds for a website to load?
- Make sure the content is clear and don’t embed the content in pictures
- A user likes to interact with website once it loads. So, it is a good idea to place your phone number / Contact form links above the fold (definition: the viewable area when the website opens up).
- Try not to use page blocking pop ups.
- Absolutely NO FLASH players. Never.
Skill Level - 2 (Tech Savvy & Interested):
- Combine photos with CSS sprite sheet technique
- Resize the photos to a max size of 1600 x 900.
- Make a habit of using JPEG images instead of PNG. The difference between JPEG and PNG is , the latter uses additional channel "Alpha" (Transparency). This is good for logos but for full color images, stay away from it.
Skill Level - 3 (Tech Passionate):
- Enable gzip compression.
- Use NGINX server.
- (For NGINX) Hide the server info, take care of XSS attack, click jacking and cross site scripting. Just copy and paste the following lines in nginx.conf. Typically, the file is found at /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
server_tokens off; add_header X-Frame-Options SAMEORIGIN; add_header X-Content-Type-Options nosniff; add_header X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block";
Say goodbye to PHP and welcome to NodeJS ( In my opinion... ) Static sites built on NodeJS are insanely fast and can save hundreds of dollars in server costs. Don't take my word for it, watch it for here and decide yourself
Still not convinced?
We designed a website for one of our clients Haynes Construction which has high quality images all around and loads instantaneously. If you are thinking that the website is on an insane server, you would be wrong !
Call us at 800-325-4315 to find out more or if you are interested to get something similar. We are more than happy to give you some tips if you are already working with any other company
(For WordPress Users) Offload the MySQL database to a standalone server. Offload images & any other static content to CDNs like Cloudflare.
- Cache, Cache, Cache....
- Minimize Web-Requests.
- Minimize in-line CSS scripts.
Too much to handle ? I was just getting warmed up....
As I mentioned before there is a ton that can be done on a website and if your business is based on the website, don't do the mistake of doing it yourself unless you know what you are doing.
Feel free to contact us