Watch out! Negative SEO is a tactic designed to negatively impact rankings for a URL or its host domain. Known techniques include manipulating a variable with user signal buckets, content, and links. If you would like to diagnose what factors have been causing your rankings to decline and suspect that it might be the work of a competitor, you have come to the right place. Let’s find out more:
Put Together a Negative SEO Detector Tool Kit
First, you need:
- A plagiarism tool
- A technical or crawling tool
- A link analysis tool
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- Raw weblogs access
- A browser that provides access to Google and Bing
The goal of using these tools is to allow you to find content, analyze inbound link data, as well as review user signals and content. Next, let’s take a detailed look at some of the mentioned tools, as well as how and when to use them.
Tool #1: Plagiarism Tool
Copyscape is an extremely popular tool to check the uniqueness of your content. Use it to crawl your entire site and see if it finds any string matches on other web pages, which have been indexed by Google and Bing. There are two outcomes here: one is the possibility of internal duplication and the second is you have been a victim of parasitic scrapers and fake Digital Millennium Copyright Act requests. If it’s the first one, it means that there is an absence of competitor scraping. The problem lies in improper URL handling duplicated content across a blog. If it’s the second one, someone is copying you and trying to outrank you on more authoritative domains.
Tool #2: Crawling Tool
Crawling and technical tools can help you analyze on-page technical factors, facilitate crawl mapping, check for redirects, check indexation status by depth, and check site speed. If you are currently being hampered by a large resource, site speed test results will display that your load speeds are significantly slowed down. There is also a possibility that you are susceptible to open redirects, i.e. someone is trying to leach off your available link equity!
Now, analyzing on-page technical factors are important because they can tell you if you have encountered an internal mistake or being targeted by a real negative SEO attack. You will find out if canonicalization problems are causing a conflict, or there are certain pages set to noindex or nofollow.
Tool #3: Link Analysis Tool
Referring IPs, new domains, and new backlinks are places where you will likely find out if you are experiencing an attack. If you have been targeted by negative SEO, you may see a sudden spike in links that you did not want or commission. For example, you may have 3,500 pages on the same domain link to you. In addition, they are viewed differently from 3,500 new domains that are also linking to you. That’s ridiculous, isn’t it? This is one of the laziest negative SEO tactics out there, and that’s why they are pretty common. Other areas that need your attention include, outgoing broken links, outgoing linked domains, anchors, broken backlinks, lost domains/backlinks, and organic keywords.