The online gaming space can be a very competitive market, and operators fight for the attention of players over not only their competitors, but other forms of entertainment as well. Staying at the top of search results becomes very important to their business, and negative search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns, or efforts to harm a website’s search rankings, could put a big hurt on their returns. Julia Logan of IrishWonder SEO consulting recently joined CoinGeek’s Becky Liggero to explain why bad actors opt for negative SEO, and how operators can defend themselves against it.
Logan explains that a group may pursue negative SEO for “all sorts of motivations.” For example, it may be out of envy. “The reasons why people tend to do negative SEO is first of all, they think that getting rid of their competitor will make them automatically rank in their spot, an incorrect assumption most of the time.” However, it could also be for self-defense, or just to be malicious. She continues, “For reputation management issues to get rid of a negative piece ranking for the company name. Maybe somebody hacks somebody, during some hate campaign. Like really wanting to get rid of that person or that company.”
What’s worse is, it can be very difficult to know for sure if you’ve been the target of a direct attack. “Basically you have to look for the reasons, for the motivation of whoever’s doing this. Sometimes it will be pretty obvious, but problem is with negative SEO, with a really well implemented negative SEO campaign, done by somebody who actually knows their stuff, you might never be able to diagnose that,” says Logan. As search engines have evolved and negated the effects of many black hat attacks, if you’re looking to blame Google for every dip in search results, you’re probably wrong. Logan offers, “It’s actually the result of somebody’s clueless actions, trying to do something else unrelated to the site suffering it.”
There’s two keys to staying protected against negative SEO campaigns. The IrishWonder expert spells them out like this:
“First of all, keep track of everything happening, document everything. Be very aware of your link profile. What links are you getting that you’re not supposed to get, what links are you losing that were maybe your strongest, best quality links, something like this happening. Make sure you don’t have underlying security issues, because sites getting hacked is not helping them in any regard, not in terms of negative SEO, not in terms of just their regular activities.”
Finally, we couldn’t let such an experienced SEO expert walk away without getting some general tips to stay high in the rankings. Logan offered, “Make sure your site is so perfect, it would take people a lot of effort to negative SEO it. Make sure your onsite SEO is perfect. Make sure you don’t have any technical issues, make sure you don’t have any security issues, and make sure you have a really high quality strong link profile.”