FrankTheRank - 3:16 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)
So, if someone does point bad links at a competitor, it may well not do any harm unless there is something else already wrong on site or with other elements of the link profile.
It appears from all the chat on the SEO forums at the moment that negative is the new game.
From our testing it is very easy to do, especially to sites that are part of an interlinked mini network and that pass juice throyugh dodgy re-directs. Sites that have created or create lots of content that can be used against them, respun etc. are also at risk from penguin attacks.
Contrary to what I read elsewhere PR seems to be no defence and size makes it an easy target for keyword spam against weak niche areas of the site, especially if their size has been built by dodgy link building over the years.
If things deviate too far from the optimal link profile, and enough flags are tripped then the penguin appears to come along within a few days, which makes us here believe it's a series of repeating refreshes.
I think that backlinks hurt the most. Or maybe older links don't matter so much. I had an htaccess file loaded with hundreds of 301 redirects. I did this because I changed from PHPNuke to Wordpress and the link structure was different. Recently, I accidentally replaced this htaccess file with an old htaccess file that didn't have any 301 redirects. Almost immediately my traffic returned to pre-penguin levels. I'm leaving it this way to see how it turns out.
@SirTox IMHO what occurred here was you accidently disconnected a lot of dodgy juice from your link profile. I keep reading that 301's from bad sites are a key weapon for a negative SEO campaign. They certainly seem to hurt after 24th April.
Anyone got any thoughts on this?