How Competitors Can Take Down Your Local Rankings: Interview With Mike Stewart

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As part of our SEJ interview series, Mike Stewart of SMB SEO discusses how competitors can maliciously take down your local search engine listings.

As the local search landscape gets more competitive, businesses are getting more aggressive towards their competitors in the search engines.

Mike says there are ways to spend as little as five dollars to infect a WordPress website with malware. In fact there’s a whole underground of devoted to this type of work where people are being paid pennies on the dollar to attack local websites.

Mike explains more about these kinds of attacks and how to protect yourself from them in the video below:

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • Other website attacks Mike has seen involve contact form spam where the website’s contact form gets blasted with spammy inquiries and congesting the e-mail inbox so the site owner can’t tell good leads from bad leads. Mike expects to see these types of spam attacks get smarter over the years.
  • Fake negative reviews are another type of attack Mike has seen that can do real damage to a business’s traffic and reputation.
  • The best way to protect yourself from fake negative reviews is to make sure your businesses is doing all the right things, providing a good service and asking your customers to provide honest feedback.
  • In order to protect yourself from malicious hackers, you can put a filter on a contact form that can tell when a bot is filling it out instead of a human.
  • Make sure you’re creating regular backups of your site so it’s easy to restore in the event that it gets infected with malware.
  • Over the next few months Google will be cracking down on hackers so fewer website owners fall victim to them.

Please visit SEJ’s YouTube page for more video interviews.

John Rampton
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, full-time computer nerd, and PPC expert. Founder at payments company I enjoy helping people and am always online to... Read Full Bio
John Rampton
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  • Boardwalk

    I have the first hand experienced of getting myself deindexed by Google from my competitors a month ago. Ranked #1 but suddenly boooomm…. Nowhere in sight! and my other sites are receiving contact form spams in hundreds everyday, tried the invisible filter but affects seo though.

  • Smart SEO

    How about someone analyzing a competitor’s back links and sending link removal requests to link sources?

    Negative SEO is definitely growing dangerously..

    • Boardwalk

      Not when all the links are coming from the same owner’s network : )

  • James Halloran

    This is all too true. If you think your competitor isn’t finding ways to harm you online, guess again. That’s why it’s important to monitor everything that’s being said about your brand every day. Learning how to handle those negative reviews and such is another spectrum of keeping your brand image under your control.