29.01.2024 11:30

Negative SEO: What to do?

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There are two ways to “win”: to be better than the other or make the other less useful. While most people are honest and believe in the virtues of hard work and discipline, this is unfortunately not the case for everyone.

Negative SEO is a set of bad SEO practices performed by a third party to voluntarily lower your ranking on search engines and harm your visibility.

How to spot a negative SEO attack?

Instead of trying to improve the ranking of a site, the goal of negative SEO is to demote a competing site or, in some cases, to make it disappear from Google altogether.

Ill-intentioned people use this practice, often competitors. If you are wondering how to detect and counter the unfair practice of negative SEO, you need to learn more about negative SEO.

How to spot a successful negative SEO attack?

You will need to look for evidence of manipulating your SEO profile and metrics to see if someone has succeeded in negatively affecting your search engine rankings.

There are three indicators to detect a negative SEO attack. If you suffer the second or the third case, the first one is necessarily already effective.

1. A sudden drop in traffic

If a sudden drop in traffic is noticed on your metrics – assuming you haven’t changed your habits – it could be a sign of negative SEO.

2. Manual penalty (by a Google Employee)

There are two types of Google penalties, manual and algorithmic.

Usually, you can’t spot an algorithmic penalty without a significant drop in traffic. But if the penalty is manual, you will receive a nice little message from a Google employee informing you that they have taken action against your site.

Again, if you were careful on the SEO side, the penalty may have been triggered by a negative SEO attack.

3. Ranking of individual keywords

If the number of visits to your site is in freefall, it is possible that your positioning on the SERPs is also in freefall.

To keep an eye on the rankings of your most important keywords, use free tools like Ubersuggest, Freekeywordtool.net, or Keywordshitter.com.

6 Tips to avoid negative referencing of your website

As in all industries, competition is fierce in your sector, and some do not hesitate to use unfair weapons to bring you down by any means. Here’s how to monitor your SEO. 

Make a regular SEO Backlink Audit.

Each company must regularly check its backlink profile in order not to be fooled by negative referencing.

This way, you will be able to detect any suspicious activity on time. If the graph shows a sudden drop or rise that is not your fault, it may result from malicious activity. In case of a 

decline, your website’s ranking will drop as well as the referencing of your main keywords.

To avoid this risk, monitor your link profile using the Google Search Console

Check the speed of your website.

If your site is much slower than usual for no apparent reason, suspicious activity may cause.

Use software to calculate the speed of your site. PageSpeed Insight, designed by Google, is exceptionally reliable.

Find out if a third party has removed the content.

Another fraudulent way to lower a website’s ranking is to delete the content. Once deleted, these creative guys stick the content on their website.

The attackers then claim that the original content is theirs. Google is then led to consider the copied content as authentic and index it before you put your content back online. 

One thing leading to another, your referencing, and your ranking in the SERPs will be penalized.

There are tools to help you protect yourself against attempts to discard your content. A commonly used tool is Copyscape. You can enter the URL of your content into the software to find out if there are duplicates of your content on the web.

If you learn that your content has been plagiarized, the next step is to ensure that the webmaster removes the content. If he refuses, take the necessary steps by reporting it to Google. Fill out the Google copyright form to register duplicate content from your site.

Always keep an eye on the CTR.

A click rate, also known as CTR is a way of knowing how many people have visited your site and how many of them have clicked on an internal link.

This allows you to evaluate the quality of the content offered and its ability to generate traffic. 

Some negative SEO attacks are designed to disrupt your click-through rate.

The only way to detect this attack is to monitor the CTR of your main keywords regularly. 

To do so, you need to connect to Google Search Analytics. You can then obtain and analyze 

the CTR of your keywords.

Once the evaluation is done, and if you discover something suspicious, contact Google immediately to report these negative SEO attacks.

Check fake accounts on social networks.

Another negative SEO trick is to create fake accounts for your company on different social media. If you find a social media page that is not yours, try to have it removed.

All you have to do is report it. It is also possible that a spammer may modify your website pages to redirect visitors to theirs.

While most small businesses don’t have to worry about this, attackers can still use this trick to improve their ranking. They will use your link’s popularity and your high order to redirect your visitors to their site!

It is easy to counter such attacks. When you do your site audit, click on the “redirection” section. There, you will see all the redirections added to your website. If some of them are abnormal, report them to Google.

Optimize your site’s security measures

Cyber attacks on the Internet are common and can also damage your site and your business.

So make sure your security software is up to date. Your content management software (CMS) must be fully equipped with reliable and robust encryption.


Every website can receive negative SEO attacks. Fortunately, Google is there to help you report attacks and correct them.

As you can see, there are many methods to reduce risks. Finally, note that the better your SEO will be, the more likely you will arouse the covetousness of your competitors and hackers. It is, therefore, essential to remain vigilant and informed at all times.

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