There has been a lot of discussion about negative SEO such as does it happen in real? How does it happen? What should one do if he or she is the hit? For long Google was disagreeing with the concept of negative SEO. As per the official version, there was no way to damage your rankings in the search engine results by any of your competitors. Things started to change when Google updated and brought some changes in the official FAQ with a question on negative SEO and it happened around 2006.
Definition of negative SEO
To know more about negative SEO, first you should understand what is negative SEO? Well, negative SEO is the act that is performed by someone to damage your rankings in the search engine results.
Negative SEO can be performed in several ways such as one of your competitors may hack your website and conundrum the code by injecting malware or with HTML hyperlinks, they can create several duplicate copies of your website and many others. Anything that is done intentionally to damage your website rankings falls under negative SEO.
Ways to find out if you are the hit of negative SEO
To find out if your website is the target of negative SEO from links, the first thing you should do is checking your backlink profile. You can review your backlink profile once in a week or once in a month. The frequency of reviewing depends on your concern about your site and your competition rate in the industry.
The links to your site report can be viewed in Google Webmaster Tools which will give you a decent view of the links that Google is utilizing as authority indicators when this search engine is viewing your site. Also many other tools are there such as Opensite Explorer, Majestic SEO and Ahrefs. When you follow the links, few things that you should watch out are:
- A huge number of new links those are not characteristic of your website.
- Links from very low quality domains.
- Links from very low quality blogs.
- Links with exact anchor text for competitive keywords.
- And anything that looks suspicious.
Things to do if you are the hit of negative SEO
1. Contact with the webmasters
If you discover that you are the hit of negative SEO, then there are many things that you should do. The first thing you should do is contacting with the websites and ask them to remove their links. Always keep a record of your attempt to reach to the webmasters. It may take some time but Google wants you to show that you are trying to keep your backlink profile clean. This is mainly important if a manual action is taken against your website and you need to show or submit a reconsideration request.
2. Disavow the links
If you cannot remove some links, disavow them using the Google Disavow tool. Also there are some other tools like Bing Disavow. This way you are asking Google not to take into account the links when reviewing your site.
3. Ask the website about the links
If you see that bad links keep on popping up in your site, you can ask the website that contains the links that how the links were created. If you get an answer, it may give you more information on it. Then you can report it to Google against the perpetrator.
4. Contact with search engines
Though there is no way to report about negative SEO to Google and Bing, but both these search engines allow the users to report webspam and negative SEO falls under this category. To report webspam in Google you can click here and use the form.