Five Signals to Identify the Negative SEO Attacks

Five Signals to Identify the Negative SEO Attacks

Negative SEO is one of the most conversed about topics since launch of Googles’ penguin update. After algorithm update was rolled out, there have been several assumptions regarding the beginning of negative SEO. Google, who always moralized the achievement of good over evil, has somehow accepted that the negative SEO is possible but is very unusual. But even the slightest option for such an evil thing is sufficient for online marketers and web entrepreneurs to give frightening. As we are living in a period where getting hit by ‘Panda’ or ‘penguin’ or any other algorithmic penalty is haunting, the presence of negative SEO is something we should take into consideration and it is should not be neglected.

What really is negative SEO?

Five Signals to Identify the Negative SEO AttacksNegative SEO in layman terms means intentionally affecting or completely destroying rankings/traffic of website. In other terms, negative SEO includes all the methods that can degrade a websites rankings and traffic. It is not easy to destroy the website’s rankings completely but it certainly is possible to affect it through the negative SEO.

How it all started:

When Google rolled out updates such as ‘Penguin’ and ‘Panda’, targeted to fight the web spam and punish sites which are involved in the spam, there has been upheaval of negative SEO in SEO community. The assumptions proved correct when the successful demonstration of the negative SEO was done on self proclaimed SEO guru, to see if the negative SEO works. Today, there are several companies offering evil service of negative SEO claiming they can destroy the competitors’ online presence for just a few resists.

As the turnaround of these events, it has become important to become aware of the negative SEO and take primal steps, so that your website will not be next target.

Give me the signals already?

So SEOs, following are the 5 signals which you should monitor closely to avoid any penalty which could be imposed because of the negative SEO attacks on your site:

Five Signals to Identify the Negative SEO AttacksBacklink Profile:

This is maybe the most important to monitor for passing up any potential negative SEO attacks. The negative SEO is mostly done off-site, thus most susceptible feature of a website is its backlink profile.

There is popular tool named ‘Ahrefs’, which shows the graph of backlinks and months in its dashboard. You should be able to do this by simply signing up for the free account and using “Site Explorer”. If should look something like this:

Ahrefs Backlinks the Negative SEOFive Signals to Identify the Negative SEO Attacks

If the negative SEO is being done for your website by building crappy links, the graph would show an unnatural spike in recent months. This is the clear signal that tons of junk links are created for your website, which is sufficient for scowling Google. But the sudden spike in backlinks does not always mean the prospect of the negative SEO attack, so perform detailed analysis before coming to any conclusion.

Content Scraping:

Even if you write amazing content, you can never be sure that there is no one out there who cannot copy your content. There are sufficient black hatters and low life internet users who just donot want to do hard work. These are people who just scratch content from other wesites and publish it on theirs. These scrapers have the programs which are designed for crawling sites, scraping content and publishing it content on the particular site.

To identify content scrapers and stop them from tarnishing your effort, you should always have guard on. Copyscape is an amazing tool to identify content plagiarism.

Website Load Time:

You should also keep the close look on the website’s load time. If someone is trying to do the negative SEO and scraping content of your website, they almost certainly have the dishonorable spider that crawls your website and stores the content in database. If you are experiencing the higher than average website load time, you should have the close look at the website’s server log and identify where bandwidth is going. If you find out something unnatural or you find a distrustful program that is accessing your website more than average, you should block it either on server level or through the robots.txt file. Doing this will save your bandwidth and would stop that program from accessing your website.

Inappropriate Keywords in Google Analytics:

If you are an average Google Analytics user, you would easily find keywords section under in the Traffic Sources < Sources < Search < Organic. If you use Google Analytics on your website, you should have noticed keywords which are lashing traffic to your website. These are the keywords for which your website ranks in the search engines. If you see any Inappropriate keywords in ‘Organic Search Traffic’, you should do some immediate excavates on that and find out an exact reason for these referrals. It might be case where someone is doing the negative SEO for your website, targeting those “Inappropriate” keywords and because of reason your website is “temporarily” ranking for these keywords.

Fake Reviews:

A business can not satisfy it is every costumer and it is predictable to receive the few bad reviews. But, the point of concern is when your website starts to receive the bulk of negative reviews especially exact the same review on multiple sites. Even though these reviews look fake but still can keep away some of the potential leads. It is not easy to monitor each and every review for your website but if you see the negative review or a review that look fake, you should perform the Google search immediately and look if same review has been posted on the multiple websites. You can do this by performing the simple Google search for an exact review. By doing this, you would have all the websites in which the same review was posted. Another great technique to track these activities is setting the Google Alerts for your website’s name. After setting Google Alerts, you would receive an email notification whenever someone mentions your website’s name on web. This is an amazing way to keep the track of where your we
bsite’s name is being mentioned on web.


If you can manage the above, you would be in the pretty good shape to identify the negative SEO attack in its preliminary state and can easily avoid penalty. Keep in mind, there is nothing worse than bringing your competitors down just because you can not outrank them.

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About the Author: Jayanandini

1 Comment

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