I’ve been getting a lot of questions about backlinks lately, especially on how to find out if you have bad backlinks and how to find out if someone’s using negative SEO. Yes, that’s a thing. Basically, it happens when a competitor buys a whole bunch of crummy backlinks and directs them to your site. Your site can get penalised for this if you don’t monitor your backlinks and keep on top of it. The great thing about Google is that it wants its index to be cleaned up. When you find out that someone’s using negative SEO, Google wants you to inform them so your site can get the ranking it deserves, but also so the culprit will be punished.
I use Majestic to monitor my backlinks, but you can also use SEMrush for the same job. They each have their own crawlers, and they tend to find different links. You can get a good many of them by using both tools. If you find that you have a huge number of referring domains, the odds are good that someone’s putting in an awful lot of bad backlinks. Check the Anchor Text area and you’re likely to find out who’s using this tactic on your site.
Once you narrow down who’s been doing the dirty work, report them to Google. Google says that they act on up to 65% of all reports they receive, so it’s worth giving it a try. Do a search on Google for “report paid backlinks.” Click on the link shown and you’ll find clear instructions on how to do a spam report for bad backlinks. As long as you’re not buying backlinks yourself, this is the best way to clear the problem from your site.
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For more information, visit the StewArt Media website.
Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.