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Every now and then a customer notices a fall in search engine rankings and wonders if maybe they’ve been hit with negative SEO. It happens, I won’t say it doesn’t. But the chances that it has happened to you are pretty slim.

Drops in search engine rankings happen for a number of reasons, most of them more common than negative SEO attacks. If you’ve seen your website’s search engine rankings fall recently, it could for any of these reasons before negative SEO.

  • Search engine algorithm change
  • Your own faulty SEO campaign
  • A link building firm you hired

The Search Ranking Dance

Search engine rankings rise and fall daily. That’s the first thing you should know about SEO. The search engines make over 200 ranking algorithm changes every day. Sometimes those changes are minor and other times they are sweeping. They often cause huge ranking shifts that cause websites to rise and fall sharply in the search engine rankings before settling in at a natural position within the rankings.

If you see your website fall in the search rankings and you can’t finger a reason why, it’s a good bet that the search engines have tweaked their algorithms. Wait a few days and see if you rise back to your normal ranking level. Do nothing. Yet.

Your Own Faulty SEO Campaign

Most likely, you wanted to try a new SEO tactic or implement something you read about in a book, heard about in a forum, etc. That may have caused your rankings to fall. Think back to what you did, why you did it, and how you did it. It’s possible that you can reverse the effects by undoing it. Or you might just have to live with the results and carry on with positive SEO going forward.

Who Did You Hire?

This happens more often than businesses would like to admit. Sometimes a business owner wants to beat the competition so badly that they hire an SEO firm to conduct a link building campaign. That SEO firm goes out and buys links or engages in a low quality link spam campaign that ends up hurting the business.

If you’ve recently hired an outside SEO firm, contact them and ask for a list of things they’ve done for you. Get a list of links they’ve built for you. If they refuse to give you the list, fire them. They’re no good.

Once you identify the cause of your fall in the rankings, then you can go about fixing it. It may or may not have anything to do with negative SEO.

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