We’re seeing a new kind of search warfare today and it’s not pretty.
Negative SEO is when companies, crazies and psychotic competitors attack your site and use techniques to hurt your search positions thus helping their own. People with an axe to grind have a real opportunity today to get your website penalized and potentially blacklisted on Google and elsewhere. We’re going dig into the techniques of NEGATIVE SEO and see the ways you can identify, mitigate and prevent it. You need to know what’s going on out there and what we can do to protect you.
Gentle reader… picture this.
It’s a bright, crisp October morning like so many, many others before. You rise from your Sealy Posturepedic and saunter to the breakfast nook where your ipad awaits you. You’re sipping some Duncan Donuts Decaf and perusing your usually robust web traffic which, as we all know, is the lifeblood of your business. Your eyes widen. Your fists clench. Your decaf suddenly tastes so, so bitter.
Your traffic has gone down. Way down. Waaaaaaay down. Yipes! Crikey! What happened?
A little panicked research from your web developer/nephew shows you have somehow acquired 50,000 new backlinks from thousands of random, virus ridden, spam slathered blogs. You’ve been dinged by Google for webspam and it’s only 7:20 AM. Everyone knows that Google now penalizes “spammy” links and “link farms” so imagine the chaos that ensues when your site is suddenly buried by them…
What’s your recourse?
You’ll need to go on Google and disavow all these horrible, evil new links. Do you have any idea how long it takes to disavow 50,000 links?! It takes a really, really, really long time.
Take a look at the Google Disavow Tool here:
You’ll notice in the severe wording of this Google webmaster site that these links are now YOUR problem any Google says YOU need to clean them off the internet! What? I was drinking coffee moments ago and now I need to remove 50,000 links?!
Sad, but true.
This evil negative SEO technique is shaking up medicine and crushing unsuspecting sites right and left. People are buying thousands (or HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS) of super spammy links pointing right to your site for fractions of fractions of pennies.
Want to meet somebody you should watch out for?
Check out THIS GUY on Fiverr:
Did I just read this right? Mr. Dionisaris of Greece will give the site of your choosing 50,000 backlinks? for only 5 dollars? he even says it’s gonna ruin your SEO? What kind of soulless monster is he?
Well, it turns out theres a bunch of soulless monsters just like him:
And finally take a look at this guy who even accepts Bitcoin for a really anonymous, super smackdown frontal assault. The packages even have cute names like Supernova Blast and Tsunami!
So what to do?
PREVENTING LINK ATTACKS
This is one situation where you need to take the bull by the horns early on. If you’re blissfully unaware of your backlink profile then you’re a good (actually great) candidate for an attack. Get a SEO audit and a monthly update to get your hands around where your links come from and what really drives your SEO. It’s what smart site owners do across almost all competitive niches. When something looks out of place you can stomp it out before Google stomps on you a month later. Also, by monitoring this you can catch it early and hopefully find some evidence that points you to the perpetrator. Often much of the link attack will come from one IP address or one specific site network. Finding this out early saves a lot of work later on.
DISAVOWING BAD LINKS
OK. Lets just say it turns out you have bad links aplenty. You’ve taken a hit on Google and the damage is done. Probably best to bring in a pro at this point. You see, it’s pretty hard for the layman to tell the difference between a good and a bad link upon light perusal. You also don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Your good links have value and just categorically dismissing them has some real implications for your long term traffic prospects. Get some good analysis and a good team behind you and you can get through even the most vicious attacks or ill conceived SEO strategy.
SOME GOOD NEWS
Google is getting smarter about this. Hopefully this article and others like it will help to highlight this and get people monitoring their backlinks more carefully. If you catch it early and stay on top of your SEO it’s relatively easy to control and contain. It should be improving over time.
REQUEST A SEO AUDIT AND MONTHLY MONITORING
Concerned you’ve been hit? Worried that this might be around the corner in your highly competitive market? Take a couple minutes to put in your site and we’ll give it a looky loo and see what’s cookin’ out there. We’ll get together with you and give you some options and action steps to help you move forward. It’s no charge to talk and it will help you get your hands around inbound links and what it means to your site.