What is negative SEO and what to do if your website is a victim of negative SEO

Negative SEO: What It Is And What You Should Do

SEO consists of several tools and practices adopted to improve a site’s ranking in search results. It is a great tool to boost one’s website and business. However, there are some people out there that find ways to use these tools negatively. And sometimes, their nasty tactics can negatively impact your website. This is when you become a victim of a negative SEO attack. In this blog, our professional SEO Manchester consultants explain what a negative SEO attack is and how you should react if you find yourself a victim of negative SEO.

What are Negative SEO attacks, and what happens?

A negative SEO attack is when companies try to hack a competitor’s website and use some undesirable strategies to improve their site’s ranking. Some of their tactics include making your website look less credible, providing backlinks to your website from hundreds of malicious pages, messing up your local profile, and even scraping and copying your content.

The ultimate goal of a negative SEO is to remove your website from their path to elevate their own website.

You can tell when your website has been a victim of a negative SEO attack if it has been hacked or filled with hundreds and even thousands of fake reviews. Sometimes you will also see several spam pages providing links to your website.

A sharp decline or increase in your bounce rate and traffic is a clear sign of a negative SEO attack.

What should you do?

There are a number of things you can do if you think your website has been a victim of negative SEO attacks. These steps will prevent your page from further damage. And if possible, you must take immediate action and alert Google about these attacks. 

Keep your links in check

Keeping your links in check is possibly the best way to look out for any negative SEO attacks. It would help if you kept an eye on your site’s backlink numbers. If you see a sharp decline or increase in your site’s backlink, you’ve probably been a victim of a negative SEO attack.

You must also keep a check on the links provided on your pages. If your website ever gets hacked, you will see several new links within your page coming up that are redirected to malicious and spammy sites.

Alert Google ASAP if you see any of those links.

Check your website’s speed

Usually, when a website is attacked by negative SEO, there happens to be a drastic change in the site’s speed. A negative SEO attack involves intruding on a website. This intrusion will naturally cause a strain on the website’s server, and such your site’s speed will slow down.

If your site’s speed falls, your ranking will also be automatically affected. So try to contact your web hosting to prevent losing traffic.

Keep an eye out for copied content

If your website has good quality content, you will probably come across several sites trying to copy them.

Having great content has become extremely important for content marketing and SEO. And as such, many companies and web pages will do whatever they can to improve their content. Some of them even go to the extent of copying your entire content.

A copied content has a significant impact on the overall SEO ranking of your website. If some website indexes the copied content before you do, Google will tag your content as copied and probably penalize your page. Usually, two pages with the same contents don’t do very well in search result ranking. But if your website gets penalized, your website will be the only one to get a lower ranking.

Register for ‘Google My Business’

One of the most common tactics used by a negative SEO attacker is spamming a website with several negative reviews to harm the competitor’s business.

It is best to address this issue as soon as possible because it will degrade your credibility and reputation. You will experience an overall decline in sales and profits.

The best way to address this type of issue is by registering for Google My Business. With this service, you can easily report these fake reviews and potentially save your business. 

Keep your website’s CTR (Click through Rate) in check

CTR, which stands for Click-through Rate, is an excellent tool for detecting negative SEO attacks. With this tool, you can check the type of audience your website is attracting, and if the contents are interesting enough for them. If the content is not relevant, then usually your CTR remains low.

If you continuously create great content, your CTR will naturally be high. However, if you see a sharp decline in your CTR, it is probably an SEO attack. In such cases, it is crucial to address the issue immediately by contacting your server or Google.

Take a look at your ranking in search engine results

One of the most apparent signs of a negative SEO attack is experiencing a sharp decline in your website’s search result rankings. Just checking the rankings once in a while will help you detect a negative SEO attack.

You can check your website’s performance by using some website analytics tool which will show your overall ranking and performance.

Improve your site’s security

Even though SEO attacks are not the same as a cyberattack, they can still be quite harmful to your website. To protect your website from such negative SEO attacks, you must have to ensure that your site’s security is working and up to date. Installing a good security patch on your website can do a great job of preventing such attacks.

Moreover, transitioning from HTTP to HTTPS along with user encryption on CMS (Content Management System) can provide added protection for your website.


Negative SEO attacks can be quite harmful to your website. However, that does not mean you should panic if you feel your site has been a victim. Taking all the necessary precautions and right action will prevent your site from any permanent damages.

Just make sure to check your performance and contents of your website routinely. Even though these attacks are not instantly detectable, you can still prevent them.