Sometimes, no matter how hard you market and no matter how hard you try, you will see your rankings move down. It can be frustrating, disheartening and frankly, reputation killing. Often however, this decline in rankings might not even be your own fault.

Introducing, negative SEO – an occurrence which sees the manipulation of different variables that can impact the rankings of a website.

So, how can we prove that negative SEO is the problem you’re facing?

First of all, you’re going to need to get hold of a few tools: a web browser with access to Google, access to Google Analytics, and a plagiarism tool. There are of course other tools that can be used to check this, but we find these tools will at the very least give you a moderate level of detail through which you can determine if negative SEO is affecting you.

Now, by utilising all of the above, you should be able to run a few tests to see exactly how your website is appearing within Google searches (for example) by running a ‘Site:’ search. Just enter Site: followed by your domain (e.g. Site:bbc.com). Through this you should see a list of your pages in order of importance, see if any pages are missing or if there are any pages you don’t recognise.

Within Google Analytics, check your bounce rate coincides with your raw web logs and check your referrals, do any of the sources look fake or misleading?

Finally, you could also use a plagiarism tool to ensure your content is unique and most importantly, not duplicated, this in turn can help you work out if your rankings are down through a fault of your own (such as plagiarism) or through negative SEO.

Are you being affected by negative SEO?

If all seems right, and your pages are unique, plus your referrals are genuine (among everything else of course), then this would begin to suggest you are being affected by negative SEO. Use this knowledge to carry out further research, from then on, you can take appropriate steps to combat this and ultimately get those rankings back up. SEO is a marketer’s best friend, sometimes though, it can have the opposite effect. By running the checks outlined above, you can ensure your site doesn’t suffer from this.