Hi everyone, see link/photo photo, can someone point me in the right direction on how exactly to deal with this and maybe even send me a private message as I had a competitor threaten me they would do this and it has been going on for way too long, these are very recent.
Haven't had a chance to look closely at the details but in general my first move usually is to worry more about boosting positive ranking signals and worry less about spammy links. The more positive signals a site can generate, the better it is insulated from spam links.
Three general points: 1. no one knows what values a SE, i.e. Google, assigns/passes via any given link. Often spammy links have been identified as such and have no effect whatsoever.
That said, they may.
2. while widely abused/misused one can submit a disavow list to explicitly inform G of linking domains you would prefer not be counted. Do understand that G views such a list as advisory only; as usual you have no way to tell if a link was already or is subsequently ignored.
3. NOTE: I always advise confirming traffic and conversion rate before doing the following. The only landing page method of telling a link follower (granted many/most spammy links don't refer actual humans) that you don't appreciate the link is to return a 403 or similar instead of the page.
Are these hand-built backlinks, or are they ordinary auto-generated spam links?
It wouldl ikely be very time consuming for someone to hand-build a large number of natural-looking backlinks --from different domains with various anchor texts etc. Sure, you might be able to buy this service from some place like fiverr, but the work would be low quality.
I suspect that thousands of other sites besides yours are receiving these same backlinks.
So if you have 1 good inbound link and 1 bad inbound link, and then all of a sudden for every 1 good inbound link you have 500 bad inbound links you have a problem Houston, no?
No. Not at all.
A more precise answer is that it depends but for most people it is not a significant bad situation. Instead of thinking about links, let's think about Twitter popularity. Imagine you build a powerful Twitter connection with a famous celebrity (Justin Bieber, Cristiano Ronaldo, Katy Perry, Ellen Degeneres, etc). They start following you on Twitter. Then an automated Twitter spam account with zero followers also starts to follow you. That is 1 good follower & 1 bad follower but they are not equal. You would not worry about your Twitter account because you know the bad twitter spam account has basically zero bad power to send your way and the good celebrity Twitter follower has way more positive power to send you. Google sees backlinks in a similar way. One good link can overwhelm 1,000 bad links.
Bad links with actual negative power tend to cost more money than positive link building so for many webmasters it is much cheaper to boost their own link power than to sabotage the competition. Some people trying to boost their positive link power by spamming other sites with link drops. To hide their spamming they will include many other innocent sites so Google can't tell who is spamming and has a hard time assigning penalties. This is one reason why Google tends to ignore spammy links. If they penalized everyone, then it would be too easy to poison the competition so they tend to ignore spammy links.
Another issue to consider with links is potential hijacking. If you see links doing weird stuff it might be trying to trick & confuse googlebot. You can use a header check to better understand what is happening with those weird links.
Just remember I've oversimplified a good bit here.
Your hrefs report screen-capture indicates no traffic for any of those inbound links, so chances are (assuming that hrefs is vaguely correct about those other pages) that the links they see, by themselves, might only have a miniscule effect on you, if any.
Regarding potential hijacking... if you have a lot of bad links pointing at you, there's always a chance that it could be the beginning of a spam network in which your site might be a potential (ie, one of many) hijacking target, perhaps to be used as a node in a network of relay sites, or as a site that might rank. This isn't something that a competitor could dependably do.... It's really not likely.
With a great many pharma links pointing at you, though, it's not a bad idea to view your site as Googlebot, to see if there is any cloaked pharma-content and/or links embedded, perhaps to be activated later when whatever kind of network some hackers might be building is activated. This again wouldn't be something I'd see happening as a competituve tactic.
Your site is hacked, just check via Google, there are quite a few pharma spam pages, when clicking them, you get redirected (in my cause, some bogus dating offer, probably CPA).
If you secure your site, delete these pages and send them to 404, all those spammy links will automatically be "disavowed" since Google takes links pointing to 404 pages out of the calculation, as if they wouldn't exist.
Hollywood, to clarify several of my comments about the potential of hacking, I felt that it was unlikely as a competitive tactic. A competitor would need to know lots about your site and your host before embarking on it as a targeted course of action, and I don't feel it's cost effective for a competitor to get into that kind of detail.
Most hacks, as I understand them, depend a lot on chance vulnerabilities encountered in the course of hacking. It's a game of numbers... not initially of precision targeting. So if I discovered thousands of low quality pharma links pointed at my site, I would certainly view the site as Googlebot to see if changes to the site (visible to Googlebot but not to you directly in files or on your server) have been made.
Have you seen any changes in ranking or drops in traffic? Those would be big alarm bells. Viewing by Googlebot might provide an early warning.
If you're on WordPress, hacking is more likely than if you're on a platform that's got a much smaller target painted on it.
I'll let StarkReality give you his reasons for what he thinks has happen, but from his post I'm guessing that he's gotten hacked by a pharma network, so he's identifying with the possibility. Specifically, in his post, he posts "in my cause", which I'm assuming was meant to be "in my case"... just as I'm assuming that in your post, where you posted "what exactly do you think my site is hacked?", you'd probably intended it to be "why exactly do you think my site is hacked?"
One of the important factors in any hijacking or negative SEO attack, btw, is that it's more likely to happen if your site is algorithmically weak... ie, you don't have many good links, or you've got backlink or content penalties, or there's some sort of DNS or proxy hijacking going on which reduces your ability to rank on Google.
Most (but not all) hijacking these days is Google-specific, largely because that's where the traffic is, so a hacker chooses to play games with Googlebot rather than with the other engines.
Use it to your advanrage. Disavow what you can find. It will take some time. I checked google webmasters tools backlinks, bing and monitorbacklinks. Use tools and find patterns to find thr bad from thr good easier. After disavowing many of the links my ranking increased higher than before my spam link attack started. It did have some effect for a month or two before really noticing but the site came back stronger than before and has held for months now
Not sure if your site is hacked but those sites with backlinks certainly are. If you haven't gotten any warnings from Google Search Console just double check your site but viewing it as the Google Bot. You could also see if pages similar to those of the referrer exist on your site.
I personally would just disavow the hacked referrer domains and let it be. Our site has over 100,000 spammy back links similar to yours which as far as I know haven't hurt our site. They come and go.