joined:Jan 19, 2015
-- Edit... I realize I have written a lot about the neg.SEO attack on our site, so I will post cliffs right at the end of the post, please skip to the end of the post if you only want the summary --
I'd love to be starting my first post with something of value, but I'm afraid I am here to post out of desperation (and anger, but mostly desperation as I need your help).
For a couple of months we have been getting lots of links from Eastern European blog networks. They reek of blog networks when you visit them and they have our website linked in the sidebar or footer among other websites. We have absolutely no clue what this is/was nor have we ever bought blog network services.
At first it was only a couple of websites linking to us from Ukraine, Russia etc and we thought it was the usual scraper or spammer who links to good sites in an effort to look legitimate with his spam blog. However, the number of websites has been increasing rapidly, to the point where we are legitimately concerned, angry and my partner has become depressed. Our traffic has been decreasing some 3 weeks after the blog network links appeared, despite our traffic has always been increasing ever since the site went live and we have links from top national newspapers from different countries, TV channels, industry magazines etc and we got all these good links because we have created "unique and enticing" content, you know, the one that Google tries to convince us webmasters to create and forget about links, right?
Anyway, we are 100% this is a negative SEO attack. Incidentally all links point to one single page in particular on the site, not to the homepage or any other pages; it's just one page in particular. We've discovered these links because WMT notified us, as these links don't appear on other backlink tools.
This angers us and we really are fearing getting the dreadful WNT message of unnatural incoming links. Our traffic is dropping already, and it doesn't help that we have thousands of links from the usual internet garbage like m.biz and those stupid auto-generated excerpt-content spam sites. Other than that, we have some really strong backlinks which I am guessing is what is keeping us from avoiding a penalty... YET.
Now, here's the thing. I've been reading for days now about how to fix this issue, and it boils down to using the disavow tool or not. No I cannot contact the site owners as they're all spammers with fake WHOIS or are SEO agencies (LOL). I've thought of contacting their hosts but they're mostly OVH customers so I doubt OVH will give a damn about this (although if anyone has experience removing negative SEO links by contacting the actual webhosts, please share).
WRT the disavow tool, I am not sure whether to use it or not. Most I've read is of using it when there's a penalty already and not when you suspect of incoming links, although I recall Matt Cutts briefly saying in a video that any bad links that a webmaster gets to his/her sites can be disavowed. However, I had to actually search around for where on earth the disavow tool was as there's no direct link to it from the WMT panel, which sort of tells me what kind of use it should be given (as in the last option of all and well researched).
Guys, please, help us. We have spent a lot of time building a site that gets links from just having genuinely good content. We've spent a good amount of time (months on end) and real hard work just solely dedicating it to creating great content and a good overall site. Our competitors are mostly spammers and scrapers, and we know there are many guys who would like us to go down. We have never done anything to anyone and have always played fair and competed by concentrating on building our site.
I've read plenty of stories of people going down (penalized) because of bad links and PBN links. In our case, when it was only a couple bad links we found I thought that our site would be able to handle it on its own and it would look completely out of place to Google, but we're now talking of 20 times that and from the worst type of negative SEO: actual blog networks that make an effort to try to not look like a PBN but any trained eye can easily tell it's a PBN.
I would sincerely appreciate if you can tell us how to proceed. Should I use the disavow tool? Should I hope that Google can tell that sidebar links from a Ukranian blog about a completely random niche isn't something we as webmasters would be wanting? Bu what if it's 60, 80, 100 links or more?
I've read that using the disavow tool can possibly garner too much attention and get your site under a manual review. In the case that the current bad links would not be doing anything to us, a manual review wold detect those bad links and believe them to be done on purpose (so a penalty follows). I've read multiple cases of this happening.
I've also read that using the disavow tool even if before any manual penalties is a sign of admitting that you know of those links. By only disavowing those bad links from Eastern European blog networks in particular and not any other bad links, we could be sending a message that the rest of bad links we do approve. In the end and to avoid massive paranoia, we'd have to disavow just about all links we have, and that's what Matt Cutts has warned against: to not go on a rampage with the disavow tool. But then how on this beautiful earth do I know what links to tell Google to reject because someone is trying to hurt me?
I have to apologize for the long post but I am sure many of you can relate to the desperation and confusion that getting bad links from others leads to. I just wish for those links to go away and let us continue with what we've been doing till now.
I would so thankful if any of you could please help with how to proceed. Use the disavow tool? forget about the blog network links and continue with life and if I get a manual penalty explain it all in the disavow tool? This is the first time I'll be using the disavow tool and the first time I have been attacked.
Thanks so much!
- We have a good site under a Negative SEO attack
- The links are all from Easter European networks. They're sidebar/footer/menu links
- All bad links point to one single page in our site. It's a premeditated and blatant attack
- Our site has natural solid links from newspapers/magazines/tv stations etc but we also have 000s links from those annoying m.biz and excerpt-linking sites
- Some 3 weeks after the Neg.SEO attack started (a couple of months back), our site began to go down in traffic and has been going down ever since.
- Blog network links are increasing fast in numbers on our WMT panel They're all live, none have dropped over the course of the attack.
- How do we proceed? Ignore them and continue with our business or use the disavow tool?