All’s fair in love and…SEO? Well, not quite.
A negative SEO campaign can include any number of dirty tricks by competitors designed to kick your search engine rankings and web traffic in the family jewels.

Google isn’t keen on this type of foul play and has a system in place for its webmasters to spot and stop it, but this is the Internet, and people motivated always find workarounds. Here are a few tips from Search Engine Journal on nipping any digital nasties in the bud.

Install Google Search Console so you can see your site through the eyes of Google. It will notify you if Google is taking action against your site because you have violated their guidelines. If you don’t have GSC installed, you’re flying blind.

Keep your eyes on your analytics. Look out for big drops in search traffic and individual keyword rankings. These are often your first sign something is amiss. That said, this is usually a lagging indicator of something that a competitor did to you weeks or even months ago. If you want to prevent a negative SEO campaign, you’ll need to…

Be on the lookout for spammy links. A sudden surge of links to your website could signal a negative SEO campaign, especially if they’re low-quality links. Some sites block tools like Ahrefs or Moz from crawling them, but you can use the Google Search Console to generate a complete backlink report. If you see a bunch of spammy, low-quality links pointing at your site, disavow them. How do you know if they are low-quality links? Check the pages the links are coming from, you’ll know SPAM when you see it.

Watch for disappearing links, too. If you suddenly see high-quality, earned links vanishing, check with the site owner to see what went down. It’s possible someone pretending to work with your organization contacted them and requested they remove the link. Devious! If that’s the case, explain the situation and reach out to other site owners you’ve worked with and ask them to ignore such requests.

Monitor your content. Another common negative SEO trick is content scraping. In these instances, someone will copy your content verbatim to a number of other sites in hopes of tricking Google into awarding a different site a higher search ranking. Tools like Copyscape can help you find these content copycats quickly.

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