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Victim of Negative SEO?

     
8:27 am on Jun 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My site's homepage has suffered a huge drop in ranking following the appearance of 8000+ links on a site that looks to be hacked.

The other site has basically scraped my site, but with snippets of various popular songs mixed in around the page. The links to my site are the absolute links from my navigation, any relative links have remained that way and point to non-existent pages on the hacked site.

The urls on the hacked site consist of a random/unique string followed by the title and author of a song (seemingly a different song to the snippets used on the page).

The hacked site (an image gallery) still functions as an image gallery, but has not been updated since 2004.

I have tried to contact both the owner and host, but have not been able to get the content removed.

Anyone seen anything similar or had any success against such a problem?
8:16 am on June 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Imaster

It was taken down within 24 hours of sending the DMCA notice.
12:18 pm on June 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Well guys welcome to the jungle!

I can confirm we have also now fell victim to negative SEO. Within the last 10-days someone has blasted a large number of blog comments for a commercial money keyword we rank for.

This has taken our anchor text percentage to %45. This website ranks 2nd for a money keyword with a small backlink profile of around about 100 domains.

Since June 14th we have gained 75 domains, 1,000 backlinks (blog comments) & this could be a sustained attack.

Google have opened a can off worms, it's getting ugly out there!
4:17 pm on June 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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totalodds, have you noticed any SERP drops yet? I bet you'll be dropping in 4..3..2..
4:34 pm on June 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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As of yet we have not seen any ranking drop. It's been 10-days since the attack started.

Example -
<snip>

I have moved pretty quick, uploaded a disavow file listing every domain:spamblog.com so I hope this will stop any negative action.

My concern is a manual review, if this website receives a manual penalty, we could be going back and forth with Google for months trying to convince them it was a genuine negative SEO attack
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:44 pm (utc) on Jun 24, 2013]
[edit reason] removed link to spam blog, per forum Charter [/edit]

4:57 pm on June 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I just caught that link you placed in your post (will probably get removed by admins for good reasons). That looks like the kind of comment spam that is automated and costs a few dollars to get literally thousands of links for. You are right to hope it doesn't catch Google's manual review because it's a nightmare - you'd need to make efforts to contact these non-existant site owners (knowing you won't get a response) - to "show effort". All because some stranger spent $5 or so....
5:09 pm on June 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@ColourOfSpring you're exactly correct. People are now simply blasting automated (do-follow) blog comments for the "commercial keyword" you are ranking for.

Unless your website has high authority (eBay, Facebook, Twitter) you can fall victim.

I think Google need to completely devalue all blog comments from their algorithm and treat them a no-follow.
6:53 pm on June 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'm having a really hard time getting my head around why a team of geniuses would not have seen this coming.

I (naively?) believe they will eventually reverse this inherently flawed paradigm. Of course, nothing in evidence shows that to be true.
8:58 pm on June 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think Google need to completely devalue all blog comments from their algorithm and treat them a no-follow.


The neg-SEO people would just find another way.

I'm with Hitchhiker - it cannot be coming as a shock to Google that the effectiveness of links as a measure of a page's value is coming to an end. But what else can they use? They need something they can reliably access on every single page (that hasn't blocked their bot), and that can be interpreted consistently and meaningfully.

Then again, links haven't been that for a while now and it can't get a lot worse.
10:41 pm on June 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Didn't Rand Fishkin have a negative SEO challenge where he basically dared people to perform spammy link building on a newsite that was set up for that purpose?

Anyone know how that turned out?
11:06 pm on June 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'm looking, I can't find the site, the reference to the site, or the negative SEO challenge page.

/s :D ie: I'm jokin'.

That was back in May 2012, it wasn't as much of an issue. Plus I doubt his personal blog would have been typical SEO-wise.

Neg SEO didn't work on us back then either (we had many thousands of dodgy links shot at us) and our traffic grew to 180k a day.

BTW: Moz traffic has just gone up 4000% (alexa) in the last month. Right as all this happened - perhaps people needing SEO advice?
2:22 am on June 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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glitterball, have you filed a reconsideration request while you address/fix the hack?
I had a client's site get hacked and filed a request. Didn't expect much but received a message saying the manual action was revoked.
Concurrently my developer worked to remove the hack and our rankings actually improved.
8:30 am on June 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think Google need to completely devalue all blog comments from their algorithm and treat them a no-follow.


They know how to do this. The question is : why do they deliberately make it awkward and time-wasting for webmasters to have to write an email to individual splog owners (e.g. 1000 emails to send to 1000 individual splogs if you're a victim of a $5 blast that takes seconds for a script to do) and THEN sift through a spreadsheet of Google's "latest links" to carefully extract those blogs from all the inbound links and disavow them, being careful to put in your notes as to why those splog owners never did email you back (individually, for each splog). When Google make it SO onerous and difficult for webmasters - when they could have simply ignored such links they've ALREADY FLAGGED as spammy, you have to ask : why? For me, it's to cause uncertainty and doubt, with plenty of fear of course. Almost all webmasters these days view Google's organic SERPs with fear - especially if you rank well at the moment. Adwords are a more sure bet of course. The ONLY thing that will make Google change this policy is if it starts hurting their profits. If it doesn't, then they'll continue doing what they do, perhaps even dialling it up even more.
8:04 am on June 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Negative SEO works and is here to stay. The best way todo it is to buy a few sponsored themes and put your competitor links on the footer. After 2 months, the sites will tank. I tried this on 3 of my domains and can confirmed it works. Got the unnatural penalty links.
4:08 pm on June 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The best way todo it is to buy a few sponsored themes and put your competitor links on the footer. After 2 months, the sites will tank. I tried this on 3 of my domains and can confirmed it works. Got the unnatural penalty links.


Wow, that's just not cool! I'm actually going to start a thread inviting people to share their neg-SEO experiments and results. It's about time we establish that this is happening and it's not that hard to do.
4:27 pm on June 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It's about time we establish that this is happening and it's not that hard to do.


Where have you been? This was established some time ago in a very long thread about it.

What's to establish, it works.

Granted, you are not going to take down a larger brand like Amazon, eBay, etc.. But smaller sites can and are being taken down thanks to the new Google.
5:35 pm on June 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Granted, you are not going to take down a larger brand like Amazon, eBay, etc..


Not true, even bigger brands can be taken down with a large enough neg seo campaign. See my earlier post.
8:28 am on June 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@hitchhiker

BTW: Moz traffic has just gone up 4000% (alexa) in the last month. Right as all this happened - perhaps people needing SEO advice?


That is because they switched domains from seomoz.org to moz.com.
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