Nobody likes nasty surprises, so although monitoring for negative SEO attacks can take a little time, any time spent making these checks should never be seen as wasted time. Discovering such attacks early on is far better than only realizing a problem exists when a sudden drop in traffic occurs or because the attacked site has been dropped from the Google index.
Using Google Webmaster Tools to Monitor for Negative SEO Attacks
The placing of poor quality links (often on undesirable sites) is one of the most common methods utilized for negative SEO attacks, so wouldn’t it be good if there was a way to monitor new links as and when they occur? Fortunately there is, better yet it’s free, and it comes as standard issue with every Google Webmaster Tools account.
Many webmasters are unaware this option even exits, but it is quick and simple to use, and can provide a wealth of useful information.
How to Check Your Site’s Latest Inbound Links in Four Easy Steps
- Step 1: Log into Google Webmaster tools and click “Search Traffic” (in the sidebar at the left of the page).
- Step 2: When the drop-down menu appears click “Links to Your Site” and partial list of new links will be displayed in the central panel.
- Step 3: Look for the “More” link (underneath “Who Links the Most”) and click it to reveal a list of the top 1,000 domains that link to your site.
- Step 4: Look for “Download Latest Links” (at the top of the report) and click it as well. You then have the option of downloading the file to Google Docs or to your computer as a .CSV file (opens with Excel or Open Office Calc). A list of the the latest inbound links will be displayed in the report along with the date that Google first discovered the link.
The availability of such a list offers obvious advantages to anyone who is attempting to monitor for negative SEO attacks. If the report shows an influx of quality links that’s great. If it shows no new links nothing is lost, but the report reveals a sudden profusion of spammy links (forum signatures using highly targeted keywords etc.) then action will be required.
In a future article we will look at the possible actions webmasters can take to reduce the likelihood of their sites being penalized because of negative SEO issues, but that’s for later on. Before we consider the various methods of fighting negative SEO we will need to examine further ways to discover such attacks. The next article we will look at ways to monitor for negative SEO attacks using duplicated content.