NEGATIVE SEO GOOGLE

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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An old SEO myth proposes that linking to a highly ranked site will help your site rank better. If you’re interested in the origin of that SEO myth, check out this research paper published in 1998 (yes, 1998, I told you it was an old myth!) Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment (PDF)

Ignoring spammy links and judging a site by the positive qualities makes so much more sense. When this topic is viewed from that perspective, Google’s insistence to not worry about spammy links, including adult links, makes more sense.

Anyone who would make a big deal out of that last statement is taking it out of context to twist it to mean something else.

Use the Disavow Tool if You’re Worried.

“On the other hand if you feel that these links are pretty normal spammy and something that any algorithm would figure out then you can just leave them alone and just kind of move on.”

Now, I have a feeling that some might try to make a big deal out of that last statement, “ That’s not something our algorithms would try to judge for your website ” and start reading into it. One really has to put that statement back into the context that John Mueller already stated that Google can catch spammy links automatically.

John Mueller continued:

I believe what’s happening is that spammers believe that linking to a high ranking site will fool Google into believing they’re an authority hub and overlook their spammy links. But of course, that does not work.

“With regards to disavowing these links, I suspect if these are just normal spammy links that are just popping up for your website, then I wouldn’t worry about them too much. Probably we figured that out on our own.”

Here’s what John Mueller said:

Disavow Tool Only for Extreme Cases.

John Mueller ended by stating that the disavow tool is meant for extreme cases only. It is not a tool that should be widely used but rather the opposite, it should rarely be used.

“So if you’re seeing spammy links from certain sites using the domain directive makes it easy to handle these into the disavow file and you can just submit those there.”

Google’s Mueller then went on to recommend the use of the disavow tool as a way to calm your nerves if you are really worried about it.

Getting back to the topic of negative SEO and spammy links, Google’s algorithm ignores links that are outside of normal neighborhoods.

Google Can Handle Normal Spammy Links.

John Mueller again brought the topic of negative SEO back to the idea that Google can handle normal spammy links.

John Mueller then stated that the links were likely normal spam links. Normal spam links happen naturally all the time. This has been the case since as long as I can remember.

“My website gets hundreds of links that seem to be spammy. I suspect that maybe one of my competitors is trying to decrease my rankings. Do I need to keep disavowing these links week after week? Or should I only be worried if I get an unnatural links manual action?”

John Mueller’s answer reiterated that Google’s algorithm already ignores spammy links.

In a Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller answered a question from a web publisher who asked what to do about a suspected negative SEO attack. The web publisher asked if he should wait until he received a manual action from Google.

A. There are a few patterns that work quite well.

According to Google, reviews do impact your SERP performance, and fake reviews can harm it.

Thus, your website’s content should always be optimized, engaging, user-oriented, and your backlink profile must be kept as trustworthy and clean as possible.

Contact the provider where the fake website is hosted and explain why it must be taken down.

If a review is definitely fake, you should report it to the site’s administration where the “review” was published. You can read more about this negative SEO practice in the article about a case of a fake review attack.

Finding and Reporting Fake Negative Reviews About Your Website.

This suspicious activity did not bring obvious negative results but is still keeping us a little busy watching out for these unexpected backlinks. Most of these links are targeting a non-existing page.

To avoid any possible impact of updates in algorithms and algorithmic filtering, you should always ensure the quality of your content is up to Google’s guidelines and you are looking after your backlink profile.

When visiting the website the first time, there was a product listing with products/articles from the original website, plus fragments of the text from the original webpage. The second retrieval of the website led to a dating site with multiple redirects. That means that the original page was not even on the SERPs for the brand name.

3. Scraping a Website’s Content and Creating Duplicates of the Website.

Q. How often do webmasters and site owners judge they were hit by negative SEO when in reality their rankings dropped due to poor backlink profile and poor/not optimized content on the website?

A question about a negative SEO attack using content duplication and website cloning. Click to view the thread in Google Search Console Help Center.

There are different forms of negative SEO. In this article, we will cover the most common tactics associated with negative SEO.

Attackers may target your backlink profile in an effort to harm your SERP positions. They might pretend to be you or an agency acting on your behalf and get in touch with the webmasters to persuade them to remove the links pointing to your site.

1. Hacking a Website.

Some webmasters miss these factors and judge straightaway that their website suffered a negative SEO attack. As John Mueller puts it:

Spotting Scraped Content and Website Doppelgangers.

Example #1.

If we look at all the practices that are associated with negative SEO, we will see that generating spammy (toxic) backlinks, duplicating content, and posting fake reviews have an actual connection to SEO.

An example of a fake backlink removal request. Click to view the source.

In order to detect security breaches, you can set up notifications in Google Search Console and regularly run site audits to fix any technical issues.

To swiftly detect the disappearance of valuable links, you can set up notifications to track any lost and found backlinks in SEMrush Backlink Audit tool.

John Mueller on disavowing links. Click to view the original tweet.

If a competitor was building a spammy link to your site it would be extremely expensive and would have more of a chance of helping your rankings rather than hurting them. [. ] In all of my years of auditing links and helping websites who have experienced traffic drops, I can only recall one case where I truly felt that links built via negative SEO were the culprit.

How to Detect and Suppress a Negative SEO Attack.

Q. On average, how many cases of negative SEO do you come across annually?

It took about 7 months to get rid of this and to establish a working solution for the client. Almost daily we reported the content theft to Google to gain back good results.

We talked to Ralf Seybold, an expert in tackling negative SEO campaigns, and here is what he said about the issue.

First, let us define what is Negative SEO and what it implies.

This unnatural spike resulted in a manual action from Google. The webmaster then had to run an in-depth backlink audit and submit reconsideration requests to Google together with the disavow files.

Use The FTC Complaint Assistant to report the imposter.

Usually, the cases where I see that something around the negative SEO is happening are kind of the cases, when you would look at them manually, you would say, well, this looks like maybe someone has built these links up over the past. And it’s not really the competitor but maybe an SEO that has been working for the company.

In the second request, the webmaster emphasized that this was a negative SEO attack, and that might have helped to clear things up and get the penalty removed. As of today, the rankings are still being restored.

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