What are Negative SEO attacks and how to avoid them

What are Negative SEO attacks and how to avoid them
Behlul M
August 2, 2017

Negative SEO is a frustrating and damaging attack done by some businesses to take out their competition. Once a site is under attack, it becomes really difficult to clean up the damage. It’s nearly impossible to avert these attacks, so it’s imperative to use all available tools to keep track of your site’s backlinks.

What is negative SEO?

Negative SEO can be defined as the unethical practice some businesses indulge in, in order to impair their competitor’s SEO rankings. These black hat techniques are not always intentional. There are link farms and private blog networks that generate these bad links and your sites may get caught in the crossfire.

Examples of negative SEO practices.

1. Link farms and PBNs
2. Adding negative reviews
3. Spammy links against your domain
4. Redistributing your content
Checking Backlinks

Many tools are available online that help you track your backlink profile. Some of the free tools are:

Google Search Console

Google provides backlink data for free. Under search traffic, click “Links to your site” to access the data. But this data does not have attributes like the anchor text included. So it will be a task to filter out relevant data. Because it’s Google, the accuracy of the data can never be in question.

Open Link Profiler

This is a tool provided by SEOProfiler. With this tool, we can view almost 200,000 active backlinks. You can only export up to 1000 links at a time under the Free version.

Premium Backlink Tools

1. Ahrefs
2. Majestic
3. Moz
4. SEMarush

Ahref is one of the most popular and user friendly tools. If you want to get started right away, follow our simple tutorial below.

Using Ahrefs to clean up Negative SEO

Step 1: Under the backlinks, click the new option. To see the active links, go for Live Index. Type the spammy link to filter accordingly. Choose the period of days as 60 days.

Step 2:  Click on the disavow URLS button after checking the select all links on the page checkbox. This creates a disavow list for you in your ahrefs account.

Step 3:  Enable the Hide disavowed links toggle button at the top. Now we can analyze our backlink profile again without having to bother about these links.

Step 4:  To see the list of links for exporting, click on disavow links.

Step 5:  When the list appears, click on export link. A Message Box will appear. Click on Save As TXT and click OK.

Step 6:  Select your site in GSC and click on Disavow links. Upload your txt file and click submit.

That’s it! Now you can be sure that Google will ignore all these backlinks and your site is free from a negative SEO.

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