Negative SEO can have a very real effect on your rankings and organic traffic. And if you don’t know how to manage it, then Google penalties may follow.
To avoid being a victim of negative SEO, you can do the following:
1) Check referral data for abnormalities
If Google Analytics is installed on your website, some referrer spam from unknown sources might appear in your reports. Look for abnormal spikes in your traffic. If you see an unusual referral source, make sure to check the quality of their backlinks by using a backlink tool like ahrefs.
2) Notify Google webspam team
While this is definitely not recommended for every situation, it is worth filing a report with Google if you have suspicions that an attack has taken place. It may also help to prevent further damage from being done both to your site and other sites in the future.
3) Keep track of your backlinks
Whether you use Monitor Backlinks , Open Site Explorer or Ahrefs , keep an eye on any new links beside those naturally acquired over time. Neglected negative SEO attacks are the most dangerous because the negative SEO will be able to gain more power over time. That’s why it is important to promptly review links and remove the ones you know are harmful.
4) Keep a close eye on your rankings
Monitor your search engine rankings closely if you suspect an attack has been launched against you. If you see unnatural fluctuations in page position history, investigate possible causes immediately. Even though Google doesn’t comment on specific situations if they do happen to take action against your site, they may provide some insight into their thinking through webmaster forums or other channels from which they communicate with the public.
Negative SEO can affect your organic traffic if you do not keep your site clean of spammy links. Thus, it is wise to monitor backlinks closely and remove links if you know they are harmful.