There are many ways in which a website can get negatively affected by SEO and the rules that govern it. Google’s Penguin update was launched to check website links and counter the issues of websites with too many low quality links or content. It is a helpful tool; however, it also negatively affects the performance of SEO.
This usually happens when any given person uses methods to bring down the ranking of a website. So even if your site is absolutely legitimate, it appears as if it is in violation of Google’s quality guidelines.
They do this by creating low-quality links pointing to your site, creating duplicate content of your site of hacking into your site and inserting malicious code. This is called a “black hat” technique and is something all site owners should be aware of.
Link Spamming – The person trying to spam your site will set up lots and lots of low-quality links directing to your site.
The Penguin algorithm will check the ration of your site’s low-quality to high-quality links. If the ratio is unfavourable, your site will get penalized.
It’s important to remember that Penguin is not run in real time so even if you get caught with spam and delete it immediately; it is going to be awhile before you can get your site back to the top.
Recommendation: Keep a full proof back link profile to stay away from the link building. Ideally your site should have high quality, diverse links and non-repetitive anchor text accompanied with frequent checks to delete spam.
Try SEO Moz’s OpenSiteExplorer.com and Majestic SEO. Both are available in free versions and are highly recommended.
Content manipulation – In this case your web content will be repeated so many times that Google will see it in violation of its rule prohibiting duplicate content. So even if others copy your content without your permission you will be affected by negative SEO.
Moreover, the site that has copied off of you may even place higher in the ranks than your site. So beware of reposting of your content. The more it is copied, the more likely your site is to get affected.
Spammers use scraping software to quickly create thousands of pages to gain high rankings. They tend to copy content from high ranking websites in the hope of ranking high as well.
The Google Panda update is similar to the Penguin update in the sense that it filters out pages by identifying low quality content and too many keyword repetitions.
Recommendation: You can use Google’s reporting tool to deal with the web search issues but if the volume of duplicates is too high you will have to counter it with a complete content rewrite. If you have sister companies or websites using similar content, make sure it is related but separate and distinct from the content on your site. It also helps to regularly update your website content to avoid becoming victim to negative SEO.
Site Intrusion – This refers to hacking or malware on your site. This will demote your site drastically and will pull you off the ranks.
If malicious code is entered in your HTML source code, your site will be identified immediately and delisted by Google. It’s not likely you would even know about this code until Google sends you a warning in your Webmaster Tools account or if you have a warning up on your site url.
Recommendations: Keep your site updated, always. Install patches as they are released and keep a look out for foreign code. Free online tools are available to help with this. After you get rid of the code Google will still take a couple of days, sometimes weeks, to reindex your site, depending on the site’s popularity. You can also use Lindexed to speed up the process. It’s helpful to keep a Webmaster Tools account.