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Have you personally faced negative SEO & was it reversed?
goodroi




msg:4680780
 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

 

ColourOfSpring




msg:4681311
 9:39 pm on Jun 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

How many sites have you personally seen that were hit by negative SEO?


2

How fast did it happen?


The question seems to insinuate a new domain being setup, and then a stopwatch starts and then you record how many months or weeks or days it was from the start of the site to the moment your site was penalised. My sites were established in 2007, popular with people (one e-commerce site, one web tools site), but didn't naturally win links, nor did I push for links or actively build links. Having said that, both sites did gain modest rankings in Google that brought in considerable traffic. However, BOTH sites were manually penalised in March 2012 to my surprise. At that time, there was of course no disavow tool. There were also no example links to show why the sites were penalised. I am 100% sure the damage was done by one person or at least, one company.

Fast forward to June 2014, both sites are STILL penalised! I have run through several RRs (reconsideration requests) and each time, the link examples Google give me are ridiculous links. One example was a ransom link (search for "deletet this link" in Google, yes with typo of "deletet", to see the kind of ransom link I had). Another example link had anchor text in Arabic script (I only discovered the link by viewing source on the page, and seeing a link was pointing to one of my sites - I don't read or write Arabic script whatsoever!). I've really lost faith in Google because they keep spidering spammy links to my site before I get the chance to disavow them. My sites have enough momentum to not rely on Google, but being penalised by Google is costing me extra business I gain.

What were the early warning signs?


No signs in the first instance, but now I'm 100% cynical and the "warning signs" are simply that my sites are out there in the open, and open to this kind of easy-to-do abuse.

How did you prove it was negative SEO?


I.Did.Not.Build.Any.Links.To.My.Sites. My sites have been penalised for links to my site. I rest my case.

Was it reversed? How? In what timeframe?


I've submitted 5 or 6 (I honestly can't remember the number, but roughly that number) of reconsideration requests to Google. The last reply from Google has turned down 1 of the sites, with example links of "unnatural" links, citing 3 links that were built in 2014 - all junk, one being the "deleted this link" one I mentioned earlier. The 2nd site I'm still waiting a response upon it for the latest reconsideration.

I'd like to state that both sites are still robustly surviving today - both winning sales/sign-ups from human visitors, and I've worked hard on improving conversion rates since Google decided to hate both sites in early 2012. I've not opted to close down the sites or redirect them. They are both in their original domains still to this day. Both rank VERY well in Bing and Yahoo! for what it's worth.

micklearn




msg:4681401
 4:29 am on Jun 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Negative SEO absolutely exists, I'm 100% sure. Want to reduce rankings and traffic to a competitor via various techniques? It works. Have I experienced it with traffic to my site? Yes. Do I want to go into the details of how it works? No. Am I inclined to do it to another business? No.

@goodroi You're opening a can of worms that blackhat forums are laughing about. There are many case studies out there that prove it can be done. Sorry for the lack of details or links to the studies but I'm pretty sure you and anyone else can find them with some due diligence.

Clay_More




msg:4681663
 7:57 am on Jun 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ColourOfSpring

Manual penalties have an expiration date, at least according to Matt Cutts. So, your statement is that you received a two site manual penalty in March, 2012. Both sites are still penalized two years later. A two year penalty?

Without trying to be obnoxious, either your penalties are algorithmic, or you did some really way out of bounds stuff that hasn't been rectified.

Getting back to the point of the thread, how do you define your issues are negative SEO?

ColourOfSpring




msg:4681670
 11:43 am on Jun 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Manual penalties have an expiration date, at least according to Matt Cutts. So, your statement is that you received a two site manual penalty in March, 2012. Both sites are still penalized two years later. A two year penalty?


YES, since March 2012. Still to this day, they are penalised. NO, they are not algorithmic. I can read very well what Google tell me in GWT - they state partial penalties on both (they have been "partial" since GWT introduced the information of penalties within GWT).

Getting back to the point of the thread, how do you define your issues are negative SEO?


I already answered that in my original comment above.

hasek747




msg:4681675
 1:20 pm on Jun 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

1. I monitor links to my sites (over 15) and receive automatic notifications whenever there is a spike in the number of links that a site received.

2. 3 of my sites have been hit by negative SEO so far (huge number of low quality links, and the sites themselves had a very low number of links to start with, so the negative SEO would have definitely been noticeable).

3. Due to the monitoring I knew about the negative SEO attempts before any penalty could be applied to my sites.

4. I disavowed all of the negative SEO links in WMT as soon as I saw them (again - before any penalty was applied)

5. To this day (over a year later), none of the 3 sites in question has been penalized.

ecom sites, average competition (US)

fathom




msg:4681760
 4:31 am on Jun 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ColourOfSpring

Manual penalties have an expiration date, at least according to Matt Cutts. So, your statement is that you received a two site manual penalty in March, 2012. Both sites are still penalized two years later. A two year penalty?

Without trying to be obnoxious, either your penalties are algorithmic, or you did some really way out of bounds stuff that hasn't been rectified.

Getting back to the point of the thread, how do you define your issues are negative SEO?


The quote didn't note "when you do a reconsideration request - that is when Google last intervened and when the clock starts".

It is important to note that this case is a LEGACY ISSUE prior to PENGUIN's launch so it will not match the specifics of today's Negative SEO campaigns.

In fact, this is a classic case of extortion... e.g. "Pay me to undo what I did or suffer at the hands of Google". I can also see why Google is blind to this.

Clay_More




msg:4681765
 6:09 am on Jun 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

fathom,

If you have the inside knowledge of all aspects of Google's algorithms why not just give the OP the solution to their problem?

Frankly, your reply seems to imply you have knowledge most people don't. I'm willing to concede I don't know everything, or even most of everything. My usual practice is to put those who imply "magical" knowledge in the BS box.

If you have something actionable or something that can be researched, I'm more than willing to look at it. Right now, your post seems like marketing to me.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4681769
 8:36 am on Jun 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

It is important to note that this case is a LEGACY ISSUE prior to PENGUIN's launch so it will not match the specifics of today's Negative SEO campaigns.


This is splitting hairs in my view. From the point of view of negative SEO, it's irrelevant whether a site is hit with an algorithmic or manual penalty because of toxic links pointing to it. It still means a 3rd party pointed the links, the webmaster has to clean up those links and disavow them even though they didn't build them. In a sense, Penguin cases are even tougher than my own situation because there's no "official" notification from Google you've been hit.

In fact, this is a classic case of extortion... e.g. "Pay me to undo what I did or suffer at the hands of Google". I can also see why Google is blind to this.


Nobody has ever come to me to extort money from me regarding these two site's penalties. You are conflating the single link example I gave (where a directory owner was clumsily attempting to extort $20 to remove a link) with my overall situation of two sites being penalised by Google for unnatural links. Nobody has asked me for money or said to me "Pay me to undo what I did or suffer at the hands of Google".

If you have the inside knowledge of all aspects of Google's algorithms why not just give the OP the solution to their problem?

Frankly, your reply seems to imply you have knowledge most people don't. I'm willing to concede I don't know everything, or even most of everything. My usual practice is to put those who imply "magical" knowledge in the BS box.

If you have something actionable or something that can be researched, I'm more than willing to look at it. Right now, your post seems like marketing to me.


This is the crux of the issue. If there's anything actionable or specific to learn, let people share such "inside knowledge" here.

martinibuster




msg:4681856
 3:42 pm on Jun 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

since March 2012


It's not splitting hairs to note that Penguin was released a month later from the date you received a ranking change. Penguin is the update that focused on things like links and what is commonly blamed for negative SEO.

That said, I am aware of negative SEO activities predating Penguin. Nevertheless, the Negative SEO "problem" is a Penguin related discussion because prior to that, crappy links mattered less. A site could chug along with excessive anchor text, massive directory inbounds and just plain crap links that normally accrue to any site that ranks well. So it's not splitting hairs to note that the date of COS's site dropping predates Penguin. It's important to note.

Is it possible that it's a Panda related issue? On-page SEO factors that may flag it up as an attempt to manipulate the algo can be factors like excessive use of top money-keywords, topics that stray somewhat far from your site's core topic, content that is restated to accommodate a state by state section so as to rank for the state-level keyword variations, etcetera. Also note that in March 2012 Google announced updates to their algorithm including changes to positive site quality signals and deprecation of certain site quality signals. That means that certain things SEOs did stopped working and certain things non-SEO sites did turned into positive signals. A hypothetical example is the statistical fact that sites that tend to be non-spam have a code/content ratio that is heavy on code. While spammy sites tend to have a code/content ratio that is heavier on content. That's the kind of thing that has been studied scientifically to identify a site that may be attempting to manipulate the algorithm.

Not saying that's what it is but pointing out the tip of an algorithmic iceberg that is rarely discussed- on-page algorithmic factors that statistically signal a site that may be identified as attempting to manipulate the algorithm. Some of the factors identified as attempts to manipulate the algo line up with what is commonly understood as a longstanding good practice for SEO.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4681901
 7:03 pm on Jun 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's not splitting hairs to note that Penguin was released a month later from the date you received a ranking change. Penguin is the update that focused on things like links and what is commonly blamed for negative SEO.


I received an unnatural links penalty. Many sites receive these everyday independent of Penguin. These penalties are about toxic links pointing to sites. In my view, since Penguin is also about toxic links pointing to sites, it's the same issue with negative SEO - I'll repeat myself here:

It still means a 3rd party pointed the links, the webmaster has to clean up those links and disavow them even though they didn't build them. In a sense, Penguin cases are even tougher than my own situation because there's no "official" notification from Google you've been hit [by Penguin].


Is it possible that it's a Panda related issue? On-page SEO factors that may flag it up as an attempt to manipulate the algo can be factors like excessive use of top money-keywords, topics that stray somewhat far from your site's core topic, content that is restated to accommodate a state by state section so as to rank for the state-level keyword variations, etcetera. Also note that in March 2012 Google announced updates to their algorithm including changes to positive site quality signals and deprecation of certain site quality signals. That means that certain things SEOs did stopped working and certain things non-SEO sites did turned into positive signals. A hypothetical example is the statistical fact that sites that tend to be non-spam have a code/content ratio that is heavy on code. While spammy sites tend to have a code/content ratio that is heavier on content. That's the kind of thing that has been studied scientifically to identify a site that may be attempting to manipulate the algorithm.


They are penalised by an unnatural links penalty, as stated in GWT.

fathom




msg:4681922
 9:35 pm on Jun 22, 2014 (gmt 0)



I received an unnatural links penalty. Many sites receive these everyday independent of Penguin. These penalties are about toxic links pointing to sites. In my view, since Penguin is also about toxic links pointing to sites, it's the same issue with negative SEO - I'll repeat myself here:


Matt Cutts explained the release of 700k manual reviews prior to PENGUIN so you wouldn't be confused about how you got a Manual Review... You were reported to Google for webspam by someone, a competitor, a web searcher, or possibly the person responsibly for your Negative SEO campaign that is not the same as what everyone has been getting for the passed 2 years.

I cannot say it isnt Negative SEO anymore than I can say it is Negative SEO.

You have the data, so does Google... And you are both convinced you are correct for a very long time.

martinibuster




msg:4681942
 1:20 am on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

Negative SEO activity existed pre-Penguin. I discussed this on my old martinibuster.net blog over ten years ago. However the situation back then was different from the Post-Penguin situation. I believe Penguin is not about toxic links pointing to sites. That is the common understanding but I think that view is limited.

Pre-Penguin a site could prosper despite crappy inbound links, Google more or less looked the other way. Post-Penguin those same links are not discounted anymore. They are now actively working against a site. It is that hyper-sensitivity introduced with Penguin, that introduced the idea that Google opened the door to Negative SEO. That hyper-sensitivity did not exist at the time your site was penalized.

Clay_More




msg:4681950
 4:42 am on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks MB, you properly conveyed what I was attempting to communicate. Plus quite a bit. :)

ColourOfSpring




msg:4681955
 7:23 am on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

Pre-Penguin a site could prosper despite crappy inbound links, Google more or less looked the other way. Post-Penguin those same links are not discounted anymore. They are now actively working against a site. It is that hyper-sensitivity introduced with Penguin, that introduced the idea that Google opened the door to Negative SEO. That hyper-sensitivity did not exist at the time your site was penalized.


I 100% agree, and it doesn't counter my own point. It's simply that my two sites eventually were penalised by Google's 2012 crackdown - they still had toxic links pointing to them, and any site that has toxic links pointing to them is in danger of an unnatural links penalty or being algorithmically penalised via Penguin - same cause! That is my point. Furthermore, my sites have had garbage anchors from day 1 - arabic text, chinese text, random strings, random snippets of text taken from fiction (my guess). I don't know what motive was in play or even if for sure it was a competitor trying to trash my sites, but that was the result for these sites ("unnatural links"). By the way, I don't think I've mentioned this publicly but I have 7 other sites completely untouched by such garbage links and haven't had this problem. They are in different niches to the two sites I've had hammered.

martinibuster




msg:4682007
 12:22 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

That phrase, Toxic Links, is commonly used by the SEO industry. Where did this concept of "toxic links" originate? Afaik, Matt Cutts never used that phrase (or at least he's not in the habit of using it) and I don't recall that it's a standard terminology that's regularly used in official Google announcements about Penguin. It's important to step back and ask, Why doesn't Official Google regularly use the phrase Toxic Links?

The concept of Toxic Links was created by the SEO industry and in my opinion it distorts what Penguin is doing, causes misunderstanding of what Google is penalizing, and vastly oversimplifies how search engines identify web spam. Links, by themselves, are not toxic.

I am not saying that Google/Bing are perfect and false positives do not happen (a false positive as may be the case with CoS). I am only saying that if your understanding of Penguin is based on the non-canonical [en.wikipedia.org] "toxic links" level of analysis, then you may not fully understand how far ranging Penguin really is.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 3:53 pm (utc) on Jun 23, 2014]
[edit reason] Edited for clarity by request [/edit]

bwnbwn




msg:4682025
 3:10 pm on Jun 23, 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.

If your willing to allow this to happen in this test the site can not be posted online (this forum or any were else) and must only be sent to a select few that your sure isn't a Google employee. Let them bombard the site and then report back, this should be the end of the story.

bwnbwn




msg:4682026
 3:40 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

What I have noticed in this theory about "negative SEO".

1- websites with a large number of links from across all platforms "seem" to be immune to this type of activity.

2- websites with a small number of links tend to be more effected by this activity.

From reading many threads it seems the vast majority are smaller personal sites that are effected, and the larger ones go untouched.

"edited spelling"

[edited by: bwnbwn at 4:48 pm (utc) on Jun 23, 2014]

iamlost




msg:4682028
 3:47 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

What is surreal about this situation is the site being responsible for it's backlinks.

Ummm?
Google, stop passing the buck - it is you who made links important (beyond delivering direct traffic), it is you and only you who know all the links you are counting for good or bad (and not sharing in total with anyone) so it is you and only you that can simply count or discount as you see fit.

All that gets through their 'it's the algo' denial state is publicity or lawyers with the threat of publicity. At which point it's amazing how fast the 'algo' can 'adjust'.

SincerelySandy




msg:4682040
 4:25 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's hard to want to volunteer information on this subject anymore. People seem to have it in their heads that anything else must be the problem other than what you are telling them. People just don't want to believe for some reason. Watching someone like ColorofSpring speak up and then watching comments that seem like the commenter didn't really read the post... doesn't make me want to share either.
you did some really way out of bounds stuff that hasn't been rectified.

This quote really sums up the refusal to believe... or listen. ColorofSpring made it very clear that he did not "actively build links" and that a bunch of spammy links were pointed at his site(s) that he was not responsible for and had nothing to do with.


Anyway... on to answer the questionnaire
How many sites have you personally seen that were hit by negative SEO?

2 One site was a friends that I am trying to help. The other site was another "victim" in the same industry.
How fast did it happen?

Seemed to take about 2-4 months after all the links were created.
What were the early warning signs?

Traffic dropped from page 1 for most terms to pages 4-9
How did you prove it was negative SEO?

There was no need to prove it was negative SEO. The site was doing fine and did not suffer from an algo update. Over the course of about 2 months, hundreds of links on unmaintained comment pages and the like, many of which were Chinese & Russian, appeared in Googles index. 2 or 3 months later, the sites positions and traffic went to crap.
Was it reversed? How? In what timeframe?

No, it was not reversed? Even though google sent an email saying that the manual penalty had been removed. The spammy links are still showing up prominently in googles index and they are still affecting the site. It is not a "small" site (of course that's relative), it also had a well rounded link profile before all the spam links were pointed at it. Now it's link profile is shot to hell and I am forced into a position of actively seeking out high quality links in an effort to balance the link profile out again.

EditorialGuy




msg:4682046
 4:39 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

If your willing to allow this to happen in this test the site can not be posted online (this forum or any were else) and must only be sent to a select few that your sure isn't a Google employee. Let them bombard the site and then report back, this should be the end of the story.


It's unlikely to be that simple. A site with a strong existing link profile, a good history with Google, etc. may be less vulnerable than one without, so any "negative SEO test" may be positive for some sites but not for others.

fathom




msg:4682047
 4:43 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

By the way, I don't think I've mentioned this publicly but I have 7 other sites completely untouched by such garbage links and haven't had this problem. They are in different niches to the two sites I've had hammered.



It is important not to inject your more than you absolutely know. You noted that Google reported to you a link as an example that you call as a ransom link... From Google (vantagepoint) they call the website a directory... a PPI (e.g. Pay-Per-Inclusion) Directory that is on a vast number of lists that report high PR SEO links but that is one link and not a pattern of unnatural links... Whether there are alot more of these neither you nor Google has said here and they certainly dont show just by looking at the one link they were provided by a 3rd party without your permission.

From a Manual Review vantagepoint whether the unnatural links were done by you or someone else all you can do is clean them up... If you show you have tried to do that then Google will allow you to use the disavow tool but Google has repeatedly stated you MUST SHOW A GOOD FAITH ATTEMPT to cleanup your profile before using the disavow tool (on a Manual Review).

You have also stated as fact, that you have never done any link development... Which means you have crappy natural links that do not do much, and these Negative SEO links but you generally don't get devalued without seeing rank increases first... There it is quick probable that any ranks you had were from the upward trend induced but the Negative SEO campaign.

You have the advantage of human intervention here... an automated algorithm cannot change it mind. It is also worth noting you suggested you submitted 5 or 6 reconsideration requests... Those change the profile even when you don't successfully get a revoke. So it is important to understand how each were projected to Google.

As you noted... The recent link google used as an example was from the fall of 2013... So what changed from march 2012 to october 2013?

bwnbwn




msg:4682062
 6:08 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

let me ask a question. This post is linked from the home page with this TITLE.....Solutions To Combat Negative SEO Campaigns...... So far not one solution has been added, just a bunch of post on what could be the cause.

If we are going to fit the title to the thread post a solution. I thought I kinda did but nobody bit.

bwnbwn




msg:4682069
 6:22 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

Question a penalized site will not show up for a domain search? Right or wrong?
am I correct on this?

I have a website I am willing to test this theory and it is a 2009 website. I just wanted to see if anyone would be willing to volunteer, but by the post doesn't look that way. I know a lot of the people here and if those I send the website are up for the challenge I am as well.

Post here if you want to be apart of penalizing this site from links and if I can verify who you are I will send the link.

I will make a stat of links to the site now and say a month from now after the guys/gals have had their fun. I will have terms we rank for and after.

The challenge has been offered.....

fathom




msg:4682088
 8:01 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)


Question a penalized site will not show up for a domain search? Right or wrong?
am I correct on this?

I have a website I am willing to test this theory and it is a 2009 website. I just wanted to see if anyone would be willing to volunteer, but by the post doesn't look that way. I know a lot of the people here and if those I send the website are up for the challenge I am as well.

Post here if you want to be apart of penalizing this site from links and if I can verify who you are I will send the link.

I will make a stat of links to the site now and say a month from now after the guys/gals have had their fun. I will have terms we rank for and after.

The challenge has been offered.....


Generally wrong... If the domain is a KID and the keyword phrase in the domain name is the same phrase targeted by the Negative SEO campaign then it could appear as you suggested.

netmeg




msg:4682089
 8:05 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

Depends on the nature of the penalty, I suspect. Not all penalties are created equal.

dvduval




msg:4682134
 11:01 pm on Jun 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

I see some posts are more about penalties, and not necessarily specific to a negative SEO attack. I have some sites in the same position, and there is really no evidence that I have found that the Disavow tool works at all. That means that other than trying to chase down links, there may be ZERO solutions that Google is offering at this time!

Worse still there appears to be no penalty for engaging in negative SEO. That means the people with a low ethics threshold will be the first to do it!

Then add to to that the already murky understanding of just what a website can be doing right or wrong, or what an older website that is no longer ranking as well can do to change the situation. I'm of the opinion that Google is in essence penalizing many sites for links that were acquired years ago. I can't prove that, but it seems evident to me.

Fortunately, I have found other ways to market that are more related to getting my product in front of people in the niche that would either talk about it or recommend it. If I get traffic from Google it is a bonus, but I consider Google much less.

Now as for the question posed. I have a software product that by default has a link back. I am aware of several instances where 100s or even 1000s of spammy sites were put up using my software on .tk domains, adult domains, and often even in places where a DMCA or removal notice is extremely unlikely.

It's almost like I might as well just let the 7 years of work I put into it go. I made good money, and I've moved on into another profitable venture. I still make money on the this software product, and one the reason I made money is so many people liked and wanted to use it. 1000s installed it and there is a link in the footer. Unfortunately, Google doesn't see it that way.

I'm aware of several other software products and widgets that have faced similar losses of traffic. I think it really serves Google well as they offer competing products, and maybe they would prefer I built software with Google Apps. I might consider it, but then that would mean depending on Google again. Not sure I'm ready to jump into that.

I may sound jaded, but really I like a lot of what Google does. I just think people need to be ready for dramatic changes, as when Google flips a switch it can really change everything for many people. I was worried before, but now I have a new business that gets very little traffic from Google, but is growing fast.

fathom




msg:4682163
 1:03 am on Jun 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

Since PENGUIN is an automated development you can change the pattern that was introduced with fiverr links, forum posts, blog comments and lousy guest posts.

The value of a Negative SEO is what Blackhat SEO use to do with their own websites but because PENGUIN has reduced the life expectancy to a mere few months there is no value there anymore. Be that as it may that is why NEGATIVE SEO has life.

If you changed the pattern you change the outcome.

Frankly I have never tried it simply because confirming a Negative SEO campaign is difficult if you are not the culprit creating it. But the rapid pattern induced by a few expired domain that have zero to you with your niche... Dilutes the pattern the Negative SEO campaign produced and what PENGUIN is looking for.

All website's have a few unnatural links but a single link or a mere few is below the detection threshold so that is what the expired domain can do against a Negative SEO campaign, push it further into the non-detection threshold.

There are a lot of online references for this approach.

incrediBILL




msg:4682195
 3:26 am on Jun 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

Define negative SEO.

Some actions of others have unintended negative consequences for your site even if it's not deliberate.

Does Google Bowling count?

Haven't tried it lately, don't even know if it still works, but during an SEO contest (war) back in the day I was able to assign a humorous negative keyword to a brand name product that showed up on their top 10 SERPs for their brand name. Took a week or two to show up, stayed there a long time. Unfortunately, they had a massive product recall that wiped my antics off the top of their SERPs :)

The link still shows up in the top 10 of the actual keywords I used which still cracks me up as it's a fairly common term people use for a specific branch of science.

Which brings us back to my usual rant about Google, semantics and need for NOFOLLOW because if Google had a semantic clue they wouldn't rank my silly Google bomb even for the keyword I used because it's 100% off topic which is easily gleaned by the thousands of other pages that are on-topic ranking for that same keyword. Yet, my stupid blog post still sits there displayed in front of serious researchers blocking them from more easily finding the content they seek. hehe

It was relatively easy to do, I just found a popular brand name product that had virtually no serious posts written about it and using the right set of anchor text, played the game of Google bowling.

If you really want to go bowling in a busy niche it might take a lot more effort than my little experiment, perhaps using a network of sites to reinforce the message.

I did it with just a couple of sites and have done it with as little as one blog post when the right target was chosen because it's easy when nobody else posting is even doing the SEO basics.

Surprisingly there are still niches out there with sites built that are mostly SEO clueless so moving into the top 10 is trivial and I could suspect just the opposite is also true, that using negative SEO tricks would impact that niche the same way. Considering how easy it was to rank without negative SEO, I didn't apply it, yet ;)

FYI, various forms of 302 hijacking are still alive but I'm not sure of the overall impact to the SERPs as they don't quite behave like they used to behave, but you can definitely mess up someone's search results to show content from one domain and the link from another. Trivial to implement with a simple redirect script and if you're clever, you can redirect the traffic back to your site instead of the intended target domain. Easy to implement, shows up quick, no clue what would happen if you got caught or if you would as it's really subtle and sneaky.

If you want to leave someone else twisting in the wind, I'd send all the 302 hijacked links to the site I wanted to get into trouble.

FWIW, I'm not 100% sure, but I think some jerk attempted a negative SEO attack on one of my sites by putting a whole bunch of invalid links to my site so Googlebot would generate a ton of 404s which may remove a lot of 'trust' for your site. I foiled the plot by coming up with a script that uses an algo to redirect all the bad links to an appropriate landing page that is also canonicalized. It appears to have worked and backfired on the idiot as Google eventually quit asking for the bad links.

YMMV

rish3




msg:4682215
 4:58 am on Jun 24, 2014 (gmt 0)

Solutions To Combat Negative SEO Campaigns...... So far not one solution has been added, just a bunch of post on what could be the cause


Some partial solutions

- Block the AppEngine-Google user agent. This stops a simple, but effective negative seo tactic of getting google to index your content on one of the hundreds of "proxy" sites run on *.appspot.com domains. I wish the creator of this popular piece of python code had the foresight to inject a noindex tag or header to the proxied content.

- Implement a proactive alerting mechanism for unusual growth in referring linking domains, high anchor text percentage, etc. Majestic has a GetRefDomains api call, and you can set up an alert without writing code. There's an example here: [blog.majesticseo.com...] (albeit for a different api call)

- Also proactively watch for an unusual spike in 404 pages. As mentioned in another post here, you may be able to redirect them to a suitable landing page.

- Watch for new indexed pages, especially those with unusual or new url parameters. Another negative seo tactic is to get google to index pages (creating duplicate content) by adding arbitrary url parameters and getting google to crawl it (assuming pages that don't have rel="canonical" tags, etc)

- If your site supports it, monitor incoming pingbacks. While I doubt it's effective, cheap trackback links are probably a popular NSEO tactic. The upside is that these type of links give the linked party a live poke..letting you know they are being built.

- Should the attack happen to target a url that you don't care much about...say your "Contact Us" page: Change the url, and 410 or 404 the original. According to Google, bad links to a 404'ed page won't hurt you.

- If you do get hit, consider going public with it. I've seen a few cases where it appears Matt & Co may have intervened when an SEO started complaining publicly about an active NSEO attack...before they were penalized.

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