Selen - 1:00 am on Dec 15, 2013 (gmt 0)
And I trust that you've used the "fetch as googlebot" tool to see that google is seeing what you're seeing
I didn't watch Google every day because the website was added to GWM recently only.. but I watched .htaccess and latest edit/update date of files to make sure nothing strange is going on.
Having said that, today I had a pair of fresh (and professional) eyes looked at the site. Their findings and conclusions were helpful enough that they gave me new hope and motivation to fight the challenge. Here are my latest thoughts on the subject:
- The site is still being attacked with new spammy back links (which confirms the attack).
- I think I know the exact reason why the site was manually 'examined' by Google. It was directly related to the actions of the attackers, but for now I don't want to reveal the procedure in public so that the rogue people don't take advantage of that.
- Due to some coincidence (resulting from a fix of a script a couple of years ago) when Google employee examined the site in very detail, he/she might have found this 'coincidence' and might have assumed a small percentage of the links could have been 'justified' (but their volume qualified for unnatural link behavior). The coincidence was small enough that it would not trigger automatic penalty.
- When the data from the Disavow tool is used correctly and constantly by Google (I'm sure it will be), the negative SEO attacks can be fixed by algorithms. Till now, I personally added over 500 of spammy domains and over 1500 of spammy URLs (by 'spammy' I mean those that maliciously and/or temporarily placed links to our website). If we multiply it by thousands of other webmasters, the data is large enough to be successful. Bad SEOs will eventually have their spammy domains disabled (ie. links from these domains will be neutralized / not counted) and they will know it's a waste of time to attack other sites this way.
- Again, my biggest hope is that the sabotaged websites will recover quickly and fully after the attacks. As I wrote before, the bad guys hope the attacked websites will be permanently or long-term wounded and that's their greatest incentive. When the negative SEO attackers notice they waste time, effort, and risk their own domain linking values to hurt the attacked website for a short period of time only, they will stop doing it.
Finally, a message to these bad SEOs. After a few days of adding your URLs and domains to my disavow.txt list, I'm starting to actually enjoy it. You link from 60 new domains a day? No problem - I use the tools to find you within a few seconds. I know my effort will not be in vain and it will help Google and other legitimate webmasters produce a permanent fix to your wrongdoings.
I should update this thread in the near future once the things are resolved. Thank you all for your help so far.