Your blog is your most prized online possession. It is the platform where you can establish credibility with your audience in your niche. Through the content you publish, you are able to build connections with your audience.
At the same time, it is not uncommon for bloggers or brands to encounter threats in the online space. It can be due to something you published or the success your blog has accrued throughout the years. Nonetheless, these threats escalate to something much worse if you don't take proper action against them.
For one thing, people with malicious intent can harm your online reputation. Once the damage has been done, it can be difficult to restore your blog that you've developed for years.
Therefore, you must do everything in your power to guard your blog against harm. You need to make sure to protect your blog so you can focus on building your brand and providing value to your audience.
Below are the different online threats that you need to watch out for and the way on how to prevent them from damaging your blog.
Internet trolls are people similar to your storybook trolls. They cause trouble by spreading false rumors, starting arguments by posting hateful comments, and correcting spelling or grammatical errors.
Trolls feel entitled to express their opinions no matter how offensive or off-topic they can be, for the sake of it. They can be found all over the web – on online forums, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and even in your emails messages.
Trolls do not pose an immediate threat to the safety of your blog. However, they foster a toxic environment in your comment section or your social media pages. If you are unable to subdue their antics, you are looking at lower engagement from actual followers.
Ways to keep trolls in their place
- Create a blog comment policy – Having this policy is beneficial for maintaining the quality of your comments. An effective plan clearly outlines what commenters should or should not include in your comment section. Make sure to specify that you are to remove comments that are derogatory, harassing, promotional, off-topic, and questionable.
- Monitor your brand mentions – It’s important to pay attention to what people are saying about you online. Doing this helps you take appropriate measures to resolve any false comments which may affect how your customers perceive your brand. An entirely free tool for tracking your social mentions is Google Alerts. Set up alerts for your brand name and you’ll be updated in real-time via email.
- Use a comment anti-spam plugin– A comment spam filtering WordPress plugin you should be using is Akismet. Ensuring quality comments for your blog, Akismet automatically blocks comment spam, so you do not have to spend hours moderating useless comments yourself.
For more actionable tips, here is another resource page from Hubspot on how you can combat trolls in your blog.
If you’ve established a strong online presence by blogging, it’s impossible not to become a victim of plagiarism.
One of your top priorities as a blogger is to make sure that your content doesn’t get stolen. Content scrapers are websites that seek to grow their traffic by stealing others’ content. A lot of pseudo-blogs go the extra mile to subscribe to your posts so they can keep track of your most recent work to steal.
Scraping can also happen when one or more of your writers copy and paste text from other sites as pass it as their own. This practice puts your blog at risk from a Google penalty.
How to combat plagiarizers and scrapers
Plagiarism in blogging can be prevented by monitoring every piece of content you have published, and your writers are about to publish. While you are on the lookout for plagiarism, there are some useful tools and strategies you can take advantage of. They include the following:
- Hiring quality freelance writers– High-end writers strive to create original content. It would be best to employ writers who have demonstrated this quality from the day they submit their trial articles. If you catch them plagiarizing, don’t proceed with bringing them in. For your existing writers, set a rule to avoid plagiarism at all times.
- Use a reliable plagiarism checker– Copyscape is a plagiarism detection tool that performs a word-for-word assessment to see whether your content has been copied from other websites and vice-versa. All you have to do is just copy and paste the URL of the web page or upload certain paragraphs you want to check for duplicate content.
Is someone trying to hurt your SEO rankings by engaging in unethical, black hat practices? If so, you’re a victim of negative SEO. It can be frustrating to deal with these attacks that aim to hurt your brand reputation after you’ve spent months and years to establish your online presence.
Blogs that are potential targets of negative SEO are usually the ones that are popular and successful – blogs with good domain authority.
Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits experienced a negative SEO attack in one of his niche sites that were gaining traction in search engines. He documented how his site was attacked in this post. This only goes to show that anyone can be a target of negative SEO.
A common practice is the creation of spammy links pointing to your blog from low-quality domains. These are created by competitors who want to outrank you.
Since you wouldn’t normally detect these irrelevant links unless you constantly monitor your organic traffic, you can be penalized by Google before you know it.
How to defend your blog against negative SEO attacks
- Keep track of your backlinks– A preventive measure is to check your backlinks from time to time. You can start by looking through your Google Analytics. For a more detailed analysis of your backlinks, you can use a paid backlink checker such as Ahrefs.
- Use Google’s Disavow Links tool– If you are suspicious of links that look like spam, you need to tell Google about these links so Google won’t include them when crawling your blog. The process may take time, but at least you have taken the necessary step to make Google aware that you care about the quality of backlink profile.
- Contact the person responsible for the bad links– A practical way to deal with this type of negative SEO is to contact the webmaster who created the links so s/he can remove them. There's a good chance that the webmaster won't reply. If not, you can keep a record of your action for legal purposes.
A real threat for online businesses, hackers identify weak points of your blog and access your private information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and other login details without being caught. These people have their personal motive for hacking sites, and one of these motives is to steal money.
How hackers do what they do is unclear. However, what you need to focus on is keeping your blog safe with the best security tools. Functions of these plugins include but are not limited to encrypting your connection and blocking malicious traffic.
You also need to employ preventive measures. Make it a practice to frequently backup all your content. Update your passwords often and always use complicated ones. Lastly, use an encrypted SSL protocol.
Online threats are real. If you don’t spend the time to keep your business safe and secure, you’ll lose people’s trust for your brand and your hard-earned investment. No blog is immune from these potential attacks. But with the right strategies, you can lower your risk and see your business flourish for years to come.