Three Steps to Protect International Brands from Negative SEO
A Quick Guide to International Brands SEO Protection
Most companies are vulnerable to attacks from competition trying to demote them in organic search results, intending to take their market share. However, if your brand is competing within an international scope and has gained a certain size, with multiple websites targeting different markets, the possibilities of being the target of this type of attacks multiply.
Click on the gallery for examples of toxic links
Fortunately, there is a process you can follow to protect your brand and your organic traffic share from this type of activities. Actually, is more a routine than a process, because you should ideally repeat this process often (ideally monthly), let’s see the steps you can take to tackle the problem of malicious SEO attacks.
Step 1. Gather link information from multiple sources:
The first thing you need to do is obviously, checking if there are spammy, and in general, low-quality links pointing to the websites you are using to target different markets. To do this, you need to download all the external incoming links pointing to your websites, from all the sources available.
If you are using Google Search Console, to keep track of key-metrics for performance like Page Experience (you should), this suite has available a list of Top Linking Sites that you can download. However, f you want a more complete list with all the links pointing to your website, you will need to additionally use tools like Ahrefs, Majestic SEO and SEM Rush. The more data sources you have, the more chances that you can generate a list with all the links pointing to your site.
Step 2. Look for potentially toxic links:
Once you have the list, you can go through the links and evaluate them. Sometimes, it’s easy to spot if they are low quality just looking at the website. However, you should ideally use tools to analyse their link profiles and see if those sites are receiving organic traffic at all. SEMRush, has available a backlink audit tool which is very useful for this purpose. However, since tools aren’t perfect, it’s advisable to review the links marked as toxic by this or any other tool, to exclude the possibility of excluding links from legit websites marked as harmful by error.
Step 3. Excluding links from your profile:
After evaluating your links, you will possibly have a list of those links you’d like ideally to get excluded from your profile. It’s now time to take action on those. There are two different ways you can exclude those links from your link profile.
You could first, try to contact the webmaster to delete the link, this is usually complicated, and on many occasions, the webmasters ask for a fee to remove the links.
Alternatively, you can use Google’s Disavow Tool, to Disavow domains or specific URLs, if there is no reply from the webmaster, or if they ask for a ransom. There is available technical documentation about this process here.
Monitoring your brand’s link profile
You have now taken steps to clean your link profile, but the work to protect your brand doesn’t end here. It’s necessary to frequently monitor your link profile for potential new toxic links and repeat the process. You should ideally, conduct a monthly check using again all the link data sources available.
If the performance of your websites is decaying, and you suspect your brand has been the target of this type of negative SEO attacks, our team can be of help to confirm if that’s the case and also design a plan to protect your brand now and for the future.