The practice of using black hat SEO and unethical techniques to undermine a competitor’s ranking in the search engines is referred to as negative SEO. The most common forms of negative SEO include hacking, building spammy links, and removing high-authority backlinks.
Fortunately, there are various steps that can help you detect whether your website has been a target of negative SEO.
Detecting Negative SEO
Here are 3 ways to detect negative SEO attacks on your website:
Set Up Google Webmaster Email Alerts
Connect your website with Google webmaster tools and configure your email alerts to ensure you get alerted when someone tries to attack your website with malware, or when you get a manual penalty from Google.
You can also retrieve alerts when there is a sudden spike or drop in your website’s impressions, clicks, or organic traffic.
Analyze Traffic Quality
Frequently analyzing your website’s traffic quality will help you identify bots and undesirable traffic. A sudden unexpected spike in traffic might be a signal of an external attack.
Use specialized analytics tools, such as Databox, to get a detailed report on your traffic quality.
Keep An Eye On Your Competitors
Since negative SEO tactics are mostly used by competitors, it is essential to analyze their activity to know if they are engaging in unethical SEO practices.
Follow the footprints of your competitors using a VPN service — this will ensure you remain anonymous. It is essential that you compare VPN services before you make a decision.
Protecting Your Site From Negative SEO
It is important to take effective measures in advance to protect your site from any possible negative SEO attacks.
Perform Regular Backlink Audits
Regular backlink audits are necessary, and the best way to spot suspicious activity on your website. They can also save you from negative backlink attacks.
Hackers usually alter the content of a website to include spammy links, or to modify existing links to redirect to their own website. Therefore, performing regular backlink audits can help you quickly identify if this is happening.
If you find bad links that are hurting your rankings, try to remove them as soon as possible. You can use Whois to find the email address of the webmaster by entering the domain name of the website or its IP Address.
Check For Content Scraping
Content marketing is a very effective way of increasing organic traffic. However, content scraping is one of the most common techniques used by spammers to negatively affect a website’s SEO.
Scraping is a process of copying your content (word-for-word) and publishing it online. If most of your content is copied, there is a higher chance of Google penalizing your website.
Protect Your Best Backlinks
In order to increase the impact of negative SEO, spammers will often try to remove your best backlinks by contacting webmasters using your name.
The most effective way of preventing this from happening is by making sure that you always use an email address from your domain when communicating with webmasters.
The Bottom Line
Negative SEO can hamper your website’s ranking. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your website from it. Make sure you set up email notifications on Google webmaster tools and analyze your website’s traffic regularly.
Also, keep an eye on your competitors using a VPN service, use a plagiarism checker, and perform regular backlink audits. By taking these precautions you will not only reduce the impact of negative SEO, but could prevent it altogether.
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