Articles on: General SEO Questions

How do I check if I have been the target of a negative SEO attack?

Instead of attempting to boost a site, the aim of negative SEO is to damage the rankings of a competing site, or even have it completely removed from search.

Common negative SEO tactics include creating thousands of spammy links, sending fake link removal requests, creating fake reviews, or content scraping.

There are several main indicators that your website has undergone a negative SEO campaign:

1. Manual penalty notification

If you receive a notification from Google that you received a manual penalty, that's a pretty obvious indication. 

2. Sudden increase in your backlinks

If you have spikes in your backlinks over time, that's another potential indicator.

Also, the quality of the backlinks is another important indicator.

Monitor Backlinks will give you regular reports about your backlinks. It will notify you via email when there are any updates like new or lost backlinks to your site. It’s perhaps the best way to keep track of what’s going on with your backlink profile at any given time.

If you received an email saying that hundreds or thousands of sites have just linked to yours, then you know something’s wrong. You can immediately take action by disavowing those links to minimize the damage that these links will do to your site.

3. Sudden drop in search traffic and in individual keyword rankings

Google’s search algorithm is smart enough to determine unlawful activities of any website. However, there are still grey areas that black hat SEO practitioners take advantage of, such as CTR (click through rate - the number of people who click on your result in the search engine results page).

Ideally, when people click on a site and leave immediately, Google assumes that the site isn’t relevant to the search term and will remove the page from SERPs. However, some gamify the system by unleashing bots that click the victim site after finding it in the search results and leave it immediately. The CTR of that page drops. Google will count this against the website, even though it shouldn’t, and penalize it so it doesn’t appear as readily in organic search.

To avoid this from happening, you need to keep track of your CTR by going to Google Search Console and clicking on Search Traffic > Search Analytics. Make sure that you check the CTR box to show you the percentage of clicks on the table below.

If you spot a sudden decrease in the CTR of your pages, then you need to report this activity to Google.

Updated on: 22/08/2019

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