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Have you personally faced negative SEO & was it reversed?

 11:43 am on Jun 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

There are many people sharing theories, guesses and even some blatant lies about negative SEO. This thread is not for those people. This thread is only for people that have personally faced negative SEO (either giving or receiving). If you faced a confirmed case of negative SEO please answer these questions:

How many sites have you personally seen that were hit by negative SEO?
How fast did it happen?
What were the early warning signs?
How did you prove it was negative SEO?
Was it reversed? How? In what timeframe?

Let's keep this focused on productive information and stay away from the hype



 7:36 am on Jun 24, 2014 (gmt 0)


Nice way to quote out of context.

I believe negative SEO exists, it has for years. But, poor rankings and the existence of less than optimal links isn't necessarily intentional negative SEO.

It's that correlation /= causation thing.

Even though Google sent an email saying that the manual penalty had been removed.

If there is no manual penalty, then ranking decline is algorithmic which probably requires changing the inbound link profile. Google isn't going to fix it for you.

I happen to have a site that has a ton of not so great links, but it also has some decent links. It's sitting in the mud. There are a couple of issues, one I don't have time to deal with it and there are also some significant duplicate content and 404 issues.
Because it was ranking before and has some not so good links, should I call it negative SEO?
I could, but that isn't the underlying issue.


 9:22 am on Jun 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

some significant duplicate content

as in on other sites? if so where you indexed/found first by google?


 12:43 pm on Jun 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

Nice suggestions rish3!


 4:50 pm on Jun 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

The "incoming links" section of my webmaster tools tells me that I am a regular target of negative SEO tactics that include stealing my content and mass reproducing it in a manner that will cause it to be better ranked on their site(s). I also see a lot of sites(thousands of sites for some pages) that are adult/spam/gambling etc and linking to me... and I had nothing to do with any of it.

I "try" to review my disavow list once a month or so but the sheer volume of sites on the list makes this a time consuming effort.

How was it reversed? I seem to rank fine and I don't know if the disavow file has anything to do with that. I've taken the "mind my own domain and waste no time on sites I don't own" approach which seems to be working for me.


 5:08 pm on Jun 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

Considering the vectors of attack are either bad links or copied content the solutions are simple:

Disavow bad links: Clean up your current list of links, create a baseline to compare against in the future. Moving forward, only review the new links, a much smaller job. Once you've cleaned out the bulk of the links it should be easy to spot someone dumping bad links against your site to quickly disavow.

Block Content Scrapers: To control what people do with your content, which can also tank your rankings, install some industrial strength bot blocking tools and cut them off at the knees. For instance, if the bots can't hit your site they can't get your content to generate the crap trackback links in the first place.

If they can't scrape they might seek other sources for your content like search engine cache or the internet archives, block that too, see [noarchive.net...] for more.

Now you have the two best methods I know to combat negative SEO attacks.


P.S. Don't use full text RSS feeds, only use partial snippet feeds. Sheesh.


 9:47 am on Jun 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

We had 3 sites tanked by a competitor. It is clear with any seo background that it was negative seo. He bought exact match keywords we were targeting on homepages of the site.

Probably cost him a few hundred bucks and saved him hundreds of thousands in revenue. Being in the gambling sector it's nearly impossible to avoid negative seo if ANYONE wants to do it to you. Very small room for error in this market, makes it too easy for negatives.


 1:18 pm on Jun 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

Perhaps you might want to add "post-Penguin" to the title or sub headline of the original post? Or is that not important?


 2:08 pm on Jun 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

He bought exact match keywords we were targeting on homepages of the site.

What does that mean? They used keywords you were promoting to your home page? Did you obtain any exact match anchors at all for the sites?


 2:27 pm on Jun 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well why don't we just settle this once and for all.

Who has a website ranking for several specific terms they are willing to allow us in the forum to hammer the site with a large number of links.

Any voluteers?

I would like to see a site or more CURRENTLY negative SEO's. Please sticky me...


 5:47 am on Jun 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

@martinibuster - They used high profile keywords, which were exact match of our domain name (two word) and the primary offshoot keywords in our seo title. We had a few hundred pages of content, but very little link building was done, aside from the negative links.

Very little mixing of the keywords, and obvious purchases.

We hope to catch him by seeing if he used his email to email the owner of the sites for link purchases or through his paypal account likely used to pay with. We then plan to advise his affiliate partners (whom are also ours) and go from there...

In the end, it doesn't matter. Google says there is no manual penalty, and removing the links has not reverted the rankings. I believe we need an update or to wait out the penalties.


 10:54 am on Jun 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

Probably cost him a few hundred bucks

I have a hard time believing that links worth just a few hundred can do that if the site is sound in other respects. Especially since removing the links didn't help.

If it's Penguin you might see a difference after the next Penguin update. In any case, perhaps it's best to check other aspects of the sites involved.


 11:17 am on Jun 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

Very little mixing of the keywords, and obvious purchases.

You acquired some keyword optimized anchor text links and purchased a few inbound links?


 3:25 pm on Jun 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ Timetraveler:

could you give more specifics about your situation?

1) How old were the three sites that tanked?

2) How similar are the sites to one another?

3) Do you have other sites that are similar to the three that lost rankings? (How many similar sites do you run?)

4) How much link building did you actually do prior to the negative SEO attack? (And what KIND of link building?)

5) What kinds - and how many - NATURAL links did those sites have? (Natural as in you had NOTHING to do with them.)

6) When did the negative SEO attack happen?

7) How long until the sites tanked?

8) Did the sites suddenly lose traffic on a specific date? If so, what was / were the date(s) that the site(s) lost traffic?

9) How much traffic (percentage-wise) did they lose?

Thanks in advance.

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