How To Recover From & Prevent Negative SEO

Start a blog that MattersLast year Google released a series of search engine algorithm updates (Panda and Penguin), in an attempt to reduce web-spam and de-rank sites that had a low-quality backlink profile.

This was of course great news for the ‘good citizens’ of ethical webmasters who were tired of seeing their hard work go to complete waste, by having their good work ripped off by somebody else who then ranked higher than them, however it also opened a whole new can of whoop-ass for black-hatters and spammers who made and still make use of negative SEO practices, to sabotage their competitors rankings.

Negative SEO has many acts,  if you want to learn more about Negative SEO and its tactics, check out the following post –

Negative SEO and it’s Tactics

So what happens if you become a victim of negative SEO? How do you recover from it?

I suppose the phrase ‘to recover’ wouldn’t be the appropriate words to use, but more over to outbalance the effects of negative SEO is possible.

The strategy is really, really simple; just continue or increase your efforts on building high quality, domain authority backlinks to your blog as well as building amazing content.  That means increasing your guest blogging efforts on high-traffic authority blogs, and creating more quality and resourceful content for your blog too.  In fact for every 2 posts you put out on your blog, you should try and write an awesome guest post to follow.

So what else can you do?

  1. Increase social activity
  2. Use content curation sites like and Stori.fy and Pinterest
  3. Share content on social bookmarking sites
  4. Do video marketing (YouTube)

So we’ve established you need to increase your input on building quality backlinks and creating epic content, so now how do you monitor and prevent negative SEO from doing further damage?  Let’s take a look.

Negative SEO

5 Ways To Prevent Negative SEO

1. Keep an eye on your backlink profile. To do this you should consider using one of the following sites/tools; OpenSiteExplorer, Majestic SEO or AHREFs.

2. Use Google’s Disavow tool which can be found in your Google Webmaster Tools dashboard here –  Ensure that you have tried to negotiate with site owners about removing any concerning links to your site/blog before using this tool.  Also be careful not to accidentally suggest the removal of legitimate links, this could have real undesired effects to your rankings if they are removed.

3. Keep an eye out for warnings in your Google Webmaster Tools dashboard.

4. Stay alert and keep an eye out for any sudden drop in traffic or increase in bounce rate in your Google Analytics.

5. Finally, make your site/blog negative SEO or Google proof, and by that I mean look at other ways to increase traffic outside of SEO, i.e. social networking, using YouTube, building an email list, podcasting etc.

So keep these tips in mind to help you outbalance the effects of negative SEO and to better monitor your backlinks and traffic.  If you’ve lost traffic due to Google slap, you can only do so much and wait for a next update to take place to see if your efforts wins over.  If all else fails, then whilst I hate to suggest this option, you can always start again from complete scratch.

Share your views, points and suggestions.

So I hope this post has been helpful to you, however as always I’m itching to hear your thoughts and reactions.  Do you have your own tips and suggestions?  Is there anything above that I’ve mentioned you feel is incorrect?  If so, correct me… Leave me a comment below as always.

Image courtesy of Flickr user: 23spaces

  • Erik Emanuelli

    Hi Fabrizio,
    nice post! Thanks for sharing!

    I see you switched from traditional WP commenting system to Disqus…
    How is it?

    Regarding the topic of the post,
    I recently “discovered” a nice online tool:

    it’s free, paying with a Tweet.
    After the report, you can check good, suspicious and toxic links.
    I think it’s worth a run for everyone worried about Negative SEO.

    • / Fabrizio Van Marciano

      Hey Erik thanks for stopping by mate, yeah a lot of people don’t like the commenting system by Disqus but I’ve got to say it certainly allows for a lot more interaction and engagement with other users and the content itself. I’ve been trying it out on the blog here for a few days and so far it’s working great.

      I’ve noticed though it puts some legitimate comments in the spam folder but doesn’t tell you, so you could have about 10 legitimate comments in spam and the number say (0). A bit odd that one, but apart from that it’s a great feature. I’ll be writing my own review of it sometimes soon I’d imagine.

      Thanks for the link to link research tools I also discovered this tool back in August last year and used it to diagnose bad links on this blog. I wrote a little post about my findings here:


      As you say it is a very useful tool and definitely worth checking out. Thanks for reminding me :)

  • Justin Germino

    I hadn’t used Open Site Explorer before, will check it out. I have known several who were targeted by negative SEO tactics that starting ranking better in SERP than their sites or high enough that it caused negative PR effect, it is a bad situation to be in and I don’t envy anyone legit in that situation.

    • / Fabrizio Van Marciano

      Hi Justin, thanks for dropping by man, pleasure to see you here. I had an audit done on the blog not so long ago and negative SEO tactics were used on my blog too. Fortunately I was able to work towards fixing the problem and I’m still working to win back my rankings now. It’s a huge concern and it’s a real shame that there are people out there doing it.

      • Justin Germino

        I agree, it is a shame. Do you know why you were targeted for negative SEO?

        • / Fabrizio Van Marciano

          You know what Justin? even to this day I have no idea why, I don’t think I rattled anybody’s cage, I’m assuming it’s a competitor or someone who simply didn’t like my hair style :). However a big handful of backlinks, I’d say about 100 or so, came into the site in just a short time and most of them were to shady low quality sites and adult sites. I tried reasoning with the site owners, but as usual there was nobody home. I was able to use the link disavow tool to get some of the links ignored and then try to build up my link profile with guest blogging mostly. I’ve got some of my rankings back but not all of them, still working at it.

          • Justin Germino

            What a shady shady tactic, to think anyone can just purchase a couple of hundred or thousand links on shady sites deliberately via some sort of service with a keyword to competitor to harm their site.

  • bonooobong

    Wow! Honestly, that sounds pretty new to me, I haven’t heard about negative SEO before. And I guess it is pretty unfair, I admit it, that there is a big competition on the market, but I still prefer the fair play, even when it is harder sometimes. By the way it doesn’t affect me or my site, my blog is quite personal and it explains only my hobby and experiences, so my site haven’t been hacked or pushed down yet.

    • / Fabrizio Van Marciano

      Negative SEO has become more and more apparent since Google started to penalize and de-rank sites that had a poor backlink profiles. It can affect anyone who depend on search engines for traffic.

  • Samantha

    I couldn’t agree more about making your website Google proof, it seems a lot of webmasters are going down this route now. Building a list is a good start and also using other mediums such as video, content curation sites and even making connections by attending social events.

    • / Fabrizio Van Marciano

      Absolutely Sammy and that’s one of the things we’re definitely working towards too in 2013. However search engine traffic still remains very important, and continuing to build quality backlinks and great content has to be paramount.

  • Dan Sturridge

    Hi, you’ve mentioned the point about doing video marketing (on YouTube in particular). As far as I know a lot of keywords will help you to get on top there (like it was previously with sites), but Google will deal with youTube marketing as well. So one should be also careful and accurate when doing YouTube marketing.