Over the last few years, negative SEO attacks have caught more than a few companies off guard, and that number is growing daily based on the nearly 15 million search results for negative SEO (and growing).

Even a famous digital marketing agency was caught off guard and experienced a first hand negative SEO attack on their website and brand.

If you’re not familiar with negative SEO, then you might want to read up on it and establish a plan to manage against it.

In short, negative SEO attacks can get a company penalized and booted from Google rankings, and in some cases entirely de-indexed and banned.

So, how do negative SEO attacks occur?

Negative SEO attacks happen because of one of the following:

  • your website is hacked
  • website is duplicated using another domain
  • negative words are used as links pointed to your website
  • fake social media profiles
  • high ranking backlinks are silently trashed and removed in some cases

However, out of the list of items mentioned, the one that occurs the most is targeting and linking negative words from low-quality websites to your website.

This is the most easiest, affordable, and long-term damaging negative SEO attack option in my opinion.

How a negative SEO attack that targets unnatural spammy links likely happens

Competitors (as well as your company) easily participate in negative SEO attacks simply by inflating a websites backlinks through the purchasing of spammy links from low-quality websites and link wheels.

Remember when I wrote Link Wheels: Is your website’s SEO linked to a bad wheel?

With services like Fiverr, Upwork, and other contractor websites, companies pose as your company when buying so called SEO link building services.

Heck, in some cases, there are even companies that specialize in nothing but negative SEO services that competitors, including “white-hat” companies, hire to obliterate their rivals.

How can companies freely conduct negative SEO attacks at will against your company, you ask?

Instead of using their website as the recipient, companies falsely claim to be associated with your company. And the person rendering the services could care less because they are being paid and paid well to not bat an eye or question the motive of their customer.

Such negative SEO attacks cause an exponential growth in unnatural links that are detected by Google and other search engines, ending in a major penalty for your website.

Most companies on the receiving end of a negative SEO attack never knew what hit them until a drastic change in rankings happen, and like overnight in some cases.

And don’t just think it happens to big brands. There are small local brands being hit by massive negative SEO attacks that build thousands upon thousands of unnatural spammy links to low-quality websites.

How to prevent, combat and remedy negative SEO attacks

This is why it’s important to ALWAYS track your backlink profiles using tools such as OpenSite Explorer, ahrefs.com, and Google’s Search Console alerts.

The hope in using aforementioned tools to combat negative SEO attacks is to catch them long before Google does and penalizes your website.

But should your website sustain a negative SEO attack, then you should quickly attempt to contact the webmasters of the linking sites to request immediate link removal.

Should webmasters not respond in a timely manner after a few contact attempts, then you likely have to use Google’s disavow tool to recover from negative SEO attack.

But before you dash off to search and find info on recovering from a negative SEO attack using Google’s disavow tool, let me be the first to WARN you that major damage can be done to one’s website and search rankings inappropriately using this tool, knowingly or unknowingly.

TAKE EXTREME CAUTION when using Google’s disavow tool to remedy a negative SEO attack.

I encourage you to watch my video tutorial of how to use Google’s disavow tool to remedy negative SEO attack.

In the tutorial, I walk through how to identify and find spammy links, and how to go about notifying Google to remove negative SEO links from being search ranking factors for your website’s search ranking.

Again, be careful when using this tool, use this tool sparingly and wisely, and don’t be found on either side of a negative SEO attack.

I hope this helps you and others understand how to prevent as well as remedy a negative SEO attack from victimizing your website and its search rankings across major search engines.

Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.