Negative SEO – Things To Look Out For

Negative SEO – Things To Look Out For

The threat of negative SEO to your website is rather remote, but daunting nevertheless. Negative SEO is a set of activities and processes that competitors could use to impact on the search engine rankings for your pages.

The vast majority of these activities take place ‘off-page’ and include things such as unnatural link building, reposting of content and in severe cases the hacking of a site. But do not panic – a sudden drop in rankings doesn’t mean your competitors have used negative SEO, however it is useful to know what to look for.

Link Farms

The odd spammy link here or there won’t really have an impact on your website’s ranking. But negative SEO attacks focus on building links from a group of interconnected sites, otherwise known as link farms.

In most cases these links all use the same anchor text. These anchors can be completely unrelated to the website, or they can use a specific niche keyword, which can make it look as though the owner of the site is attempting to manipulate the website’s link profile.

Soar Online can help manage your links in a professional manner to ensure you are not targeted by this kind of attack.

Content Scraping

Scraping a websites content and reposting it across a number of other sites is another way negative SEO can be used to damage rankings. If Google finds duplicated content across a number of websites, it will choose just one to rank. Usually Google can work out which piece of content is the original, which is why scrapers take content and repost it almost immediately.

Forceful Crawling

Another tactic used in negative SEO is forceful crawling. A desperate competitor can look to crash your site by using a forceful crawl, which creates a heavy load on your server. Then if the Googlebot is unable to access your site because it is consistently crashing, your pages which fall in the rankings.

If you notice that your site is crashing or running very slowly, contact your webmaster and they should be able to identify the problem. Alternatively Soar Online can help monitor your website and block any potential crawlers from using this kind of attack.

Negative SEO – On Page Attacks

If someone is able to hack into your website, they could change aspects of your pages and have a major impact on your rankings in a negative way. Here are some of the key on page factors to monitor:


Google is always looking maintain the integrity of sites and protect users. If they suspect your website has been hacked they could de-rank it, or at the very least add a “this site may be hacked” line to your search listings.


You would like to think that you would notice any changes to the content on your website. However attacks on your site can be very subtle and difficult to spot.

One of the common tactics is to add spammy links to the code on the page and then hide these from users with a display:none” tag in the HTML coding.

Another attack method could see your pages redirected to a competitor’s website, which can happen if your pages enjoy a high ranking and authority. For the site under attack, such redirects aren’t just a temporary inconvenience.

De-Indexing Your Site

One way an attacker can cause havoc with your websites rankings is to make small alterations to the robots.txt files. All a hacker would have to do is to add Disallow: / rule to the robots.txt and Google will completely ignore your website – effectively dropping it from the search engines completely.

Soar Online can provide experienced and professional monitoring of search engine rankings, keywords, links and all the other aspects of your SEO

To ensure your website never falls foul of these attacks. Please complete the form below and one of our experts will contact you:

[contact-form-7 id=”1679″ title=”Blog Form”]