Negative SEO (search engine optimization) can be defined in many ways.
It can be an attempt by your competitor to inject obnoxious links into your website or steal links from your site that perform well. Negative SEO has a broad spectrum and includes content theft, brand impersonation, and other similar aspects.
In general, negative SEO affects the reputation, prestige, traffic, and ranking of your website in search.
In this article, I have tried to cover some of the best tools that will help you monitor any negative SEO instance that may crack the influence of your brand.
What Is Negative SEO?
Negative SEO means a set of unethical and malicious practices by your competitors to tarnish your brand reputation. Earlier, negative SEO was limited to hijacking websites or showing questionable banner ads. Nowadays, the scenario has become a lot more complex and sophisticated.
The objective of negative SEO is to violate search engine guidelines so that it affects the website’s ranking in SERPs. It can also be done by creating fake social media profiles, hacking a website to create duplicate content or add harmful content, or offering backlinks from an unacceptable or offensive website.
Types of Negative SEO Attacks
1. Website Hacking
This is the most challenging yet highly effective approach to negative SEO. Competitors can use this costly measure to mess with your content or alter your robots.txt file to completely de-index your website.
2. Harmful Backlinks
Another popular negative SEO technique is to add harmful or toxic backlinks from untrustworthy spam sites. It aims to make Google penalize your site for harmful SEO practices.
3. Duplicate Content
While original content has a higher chance of ranking, negative SEO downplays it by creating scraped and duplicated content published on different websites.
4. Fake Social Media Profiles
Sometimes, negative SEO involves creating fake social profiles in your name to spread false information, fake news, or spam. This results in a bad impression and loss of reputation of your brand.
5. Negative Online Reviews
A company’s reputation depends a lot on online reviews and mentions. That is why you can be the victim of negative reviews around the web as a part of negative SEO.
6. Adding Malware
Malware can be injected through codes or plugins into a website to harm its search engine ranking and discourage users from visiting it.
7. Backlink Removal Through Fake Removal Requests
To harm your SERP positions, competitors can pretend to be you and contact web admins with backlink removal requests.
How to Protect Your Website From Negative SEO
- Regularly monitor the backlink profile using Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to identify any suspicious links that could harm your website’s ranking.
- Take necessary security measures (strong passwords, security plugins) to protect your websites from hacking.
- Also, monitor the content of your website to confirm that no harmful or irrelevant content has been added.
- Set up Google Alerts to track your brand name and keywords related to your business so that it can notify you immediately of any mentions or backlinks.
- Google Disavow tool can be used to disavow any suspicious or low-quality links that you do not endorse.
- Keep an eye on all popular social media to check if any fake profiles have been created on behalf of your brand. It is also important to have profiles on all major social platforms and have those linked to your website.
- Using a CDN is a great way to protect your website from negative SEO. It distributes the website content across multiple servers, making it difficult to target your website.
Let’s now look at some of the tools that can help you track negative SEO.
Google Webmasters is one of the best tools available in the market to detect Negative SEO. It breaks down the content of your website into five main parts.
Health, Traffic, and Optimization have the most critical data.
Google offers a lot of tools that help you gain SEO insights. If by any chance, your website gets hacked by someone, Google will mark it as infected in search results. You will immediately get an alert in case of such malicious activities to take appropriate action.
- You can access the search statistics on google
- You can access the latest data regarding incoming links and internal links
- It also shows how useful are keywords you are targeting on your website
- If malware is detected on your website, Google Webmaster Tools will immediately alert you
- GWT gives you insights regarding crawling and indexing activity on the site
- The sitemaps section shows you the sitemaps of your website found on Google.
- There are specific advanced tools available like the robots.txt file, which allows you to select preferred domain syntax (with www or without www), which should be displayed in search results.
Monitor Backlinks is an SEO tool that is used by digital marketers and online entrepreneurs to check their backlinks and recognize a competitor’s high-quality links.
With Monitor Backlinks, you can also check your keyword rankings on Google.
- It automatically sends you a notification whenever you lose or earn a backlink
- It links with your Google Analytics account and generates all useful metrics
- With Monitor Backlinks, you can sort your backlinks into categories like no-follow, meta no-follow, meta no-index, robots.txt blocked, 302 redirects, wrong anchor, and not found pages server errors.
- It provides updated keyword rankings every week.
- Every week, it sends you a report based on Changes in your Alexa Rank, Page Rank, number of indexed pages in Google, and other aspects.
- If Google has manually sent your website a penalty, you can filter bad links quickly with one of its built-in tools.
There are more backlink tools that can help you with your SEO strategy.
Cognitive SEO is a great tool to detect and remove unnatural and evil links in your website’s backlink profile that can harm the reputation of your site in search.
- CognitiveSEO has a beautifully designed user interface that will make you understand the process of backlink analysis.
- It efficiently analyses unnatural backlinks and generates a report that notifies users to avoid penalties from search engines.
- It comes with a comprehensive set of SEO tools needed for increasing the visibility of the user’s site and generating desired traffic efficiently.
- It helps users build appropriate and profitable links that drive traffic and attract their clients.
- With CognitiveSEO, you can track and note up to 500 keywords.
- For tracking the performance of direct competitors, users can put their website’s URL along with the URLs of their competitors.
Google Alerts, a free-to-use service, which is a great way to keep you informed of specific events that will help you in keeping your content original. Once you enter your search terms in the field, you are immediately provided with results.
Also, you can set them to be sent to your email as they crop up.
- Google Alerts lets you monitor news, blogs, video, discussions, and books, so you never miss any relevant facts when you need to generate new content
- You can control the frequency of alerts by setting Google Alerts to as-it-happens, once per day or once per week
- You can get the updates via email or create an RSS feed for the material
- It is wholly based on the web. To access Google Alerts, all you need is a device with an internet connection
Open Link Profiler
Open Link Profiler by SEO Profiler is a FREE analysis tool to check the site links, including bad links. Under Link Disinfection, you can find that all links are harmful.
Some other features
- OpenLinkProfiler has its web crawlers
- The link database is updated every 5 minutes
- You can export up to 200,000 links per domain
- Its pages section gives you details regarding the top pages of a given domain
- You can also view the context of the link to the domain being searched
- The LIS (Link Influence Score) tells you the source of the majority of backlinks to your website
With Seobility, you can audit your SEO and improve its technical aspects. Many people forget about the technical SEO section, which can negatively affect your website’s rankings as it is responsible for optimizing various other areas.
You get a plethora of free tools that will assist you in implementing technical SEO procedures like improving the site loading time, checking for grammar issues on your site, fixing all the broken links, and more.
- SEO check feature will highlight all the possible errors that might affect your SEO campaign.
- Another great feature is Keyword Check which will give you tips to optimize your post based on a target keyword. All you need to do is put the URL and your target keyword.
- With the SEO compare feature, you can check your website’s ranking concerning your competitor’s site.
- It also offers a monitoring service that crawls all the website links and sends you reports according to problems and solutions.
One of the famous all-in-one marketing tools, SEMrush, got hundreds of features including detecting risk factors.
You can extract the toxic links and send them to Google disavow, so it doesn’t impact your site’s SEO ranking.
Link Explorer by Moz lets you quickly find out the overall spam score of the given domain. It also lists the inbound links with their spam score, so you know which backlink is bad to take action.
This list won’t be complete without including ahrefs—a premium tool to analyze domains, monitor, and research your competitor.
If using Ahrefs, then check out this detailed guide about bad links.
Negative SEO is dangerous, and you should regularly check to take necessary action. I hope the above listed tools help to find your site’s risk.