Finding a great SEO campaign that works is only part of your ranking battle. Once you get your site established, competitors can swoop in and start trashing all of your hard work. It hardly seems fair, and it certainly is not ethical, but it does happen. Every website owner needs to be aware that this is happening, know how it is happening, and know-how to stop it.  

There is a variety of ways that competitors can hurt your rankings; some ethical, some not, but you MUST know how to contend with it all.

Out Ranking Your Site

If a competitor has a better marketing campaign, and a better SEO strategy than you do, you can expect that they will outrank you. You pushed others down when you climbed in the rankings, right? Well, as they say, what comes around goes around. So, the best thing you can do is NEVER stop marketing. Use good SEO tactics, and continuously market your website to keep up with, and hopefully, pass competitors' rankings.
Not everyone can hold the number one position in the search rankings, so shoot for the top five for the best results. Your odds of being at the top are increased, marketing becomes a little simpler, and there is less chance of being pushed out by a competitor if you stay aggressive with your marketing campaign. 

Link Building

When using a link-building campaign, ONLY link to reputable sites, and ALWAYS check back on the sites to ensure they are still worthy of your link. If a site loses authority by using bad SEO tactics, such as linking to poor quality sites or creating spam to increase traffic, then everyone who’s linked to them pays the price with lower rankings.

Competitors often use this lowering ranking system to bring down competitors. They will actually pay to have your linkbacks placed on non-desirable sites. This is why it is extremely important to constantly monitor your link-backs, and use the disavow tool from Google to remove any that you do not believe are worthy.

This may seem like a very sneaky and unethical practice, but unfortunately, it happens more than many website owners realize. Be vigilant when it comes to monitoring your website, and never stop checking on the links that show up attached to, or linking back to your site.

Try contacting the website owner and asking to have the link removed first, sometimes they will abide by your wishes and make the process much simpler.

Review Sites

Review sites are a great place to build your brand, drive traffic to your site, and even establish authority on a particular industry, but they can also destroy your reputation. If you are not doing anything to create bad reviews, but you keep getting them, there may be a chance your competitors are writing them.

Of course, if an actual consumer writes a negative review, you can comment on the review and visually display how you plan to rectify the situation. If the review was written by a competitor as part of a black hat tactic to take you down, it can be difficult to prove, and nearly impossible to remove.

The only real option you have is to speak to the review site directly and ask them to take down the reviews that are not factual. If you are unable to get them removed, just try to respond to each review personally, addressing whatever problem is being claimed. People who read reviews, do take into consideration that not all are valid, but if they are left without at least a helpful or concerned comment from you or your company, it can lead them to believe that there is a possibility it is a real claim. 

Review all the top review sites on a regular basis, and search for reviews that contain your business name or brand through Google regularly to ensure you are not being targeted. 

How to Remove Bad Links to Your Website

In an effort to keep your link profile clean and only associated with quality backlinks, you need to know how to properly identify and the links, and then remove them. Spotting bad links can be difficult, especially for beginners, but with a few helpful tips, they can be spotted without hours of manually sorting links on the page. 

Spotting Bad Links

In order to spot bad links, you need to have a backlink monitoring tool.  When you run the tool, all your backlinks will be displayed. The backlinks can be sorted by backlinks that pass PageRank, ones with no SEO value (nofollow), and links that Google simply ignores.  You only need to pay attention to the ones that Google acknowledges, and only the ones that link back to you. 

Manually check the backlinks profile, sorting them by anchor texts, and only checking the ones that look suspicious. You can also sort the links by social shares to locate bad links, 95% of bad links have 0 social shares.

Most Common Bad Links to Look For 

  • Auto approved comments from un-moderated sites
  • Social bookmarking websites
  • Links from pages with little to no content
  • Link directories
  • Websites that offer duplicated content
  • Links from irrelevant websites

Checking Anchor Text

Since many of the backlinks come from images or are hidden from users, they can be tough to spot. The best way to find them is to check the anchor text used on the link. If you copy the anchor text and then paste it into your browser, the location of the link will be highlighted. You can also view the page source to find difficult-to-locate links.

Tag any bad links you find so they can be eliminated once you have them all checked.

Remove the Bad Links

As mentioned above, you can contact the webmaster first and ask them to remove the bad links. If you are polite, they will often delete them without any commotion. This does not mean they have to remove the links, so do not get discouraged if they say no. 

Many webmasters will simply ignore the request, so do not spend too much time waiting on them to return your request. The longer the bad links are associated with your site, the longer your site's rankings suffer. Most times, if a webmaster is going to respond to your request, they will do so within the first 48 hours. If there is no response from anyone in that time frame, move on to the next step of having the links removed. 

If you were told no by the webmaster, or simply ignored by them for your request to have your link removed, you can contact their hosting company. Request the hosting company to remove your link. Just tell them that a site they host is spamming your website.

Finding out who a webmaster's hosting company is simply, just go to

As a last resort, use the Google disavow tool. The tool is free, effective, and easy to use. There are several tutorials on how to use the tool offered by Google, as well as others who have used it online. This tool is very effective but does take longer than going the other routes. When no one will abide by your wishes, and you are unable to get the links removed through normal communications, it is a way to get what you want, without the help of anyone else.