Help: Attacked by Negative SEO

17 replies
  • SEO
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My website of a couple years with good traffic is the target of a negative SEO campaign.

Because I never did any black hat linking to it I have about 200 domains linking to it. The anchors are non-repetitive and the most common one used to be "websitename" with about 30 domains using it.

Recently I found out somebody is targeting my website with their bad PBN network using 1 anchor text (exact match) and linking to 1 URL only.

They used about 70 domains acording to Ahrefs to date. Probably more.

This has completely skewed my anchor text ratio. The most common anchor text now is the one they are spamming. My traffic dropped to half of what it used to be.

I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to start building blackhat backlinks just to normalize the anchor text ratio since this could hurt me later.

I created a disavow file and submitted it yesterday. Hopefully this helps.
Otherwise what other options do I have?

Would deleting the URL that is getting spammed from my website and thus creating a 404 error on all spam links help my whole website?

Please only answer if you have any experience in this. Thank you.
#attacked #negative #seo
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  • Profile picture of the author crackhouse
    Your Google disavow links file should help. This can be a long and tedious process figuring out which links are the bad ones, and it doesn't help that google can take days, if not weeks, to implement the disavow file. But this, as far as i am aware, is the only method.

    Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    You left out the most important information . Have you lost any rank?


    edit - sorry missed where you said you lost traffic


    Reach out yourself in your niche and link build
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Stop trying to rank your Home page for every keyword.

    Doubtful a link ratio [sic] did you harm.

    Anyways, it could be something stupid, like OP owns a .com domain and someone buying links owns a .net domain, the link builder screwed up the TLD (typo).

    Who knows when all we can do is guess without seeing anything real (domain, link profile, etc...).
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    Supposedly, negative SEO cannot have an effect on your site because bad links are now just ignored by Penguin. If there is nothing in your Search Console indicating a manual penalty by Google, it is not a given that a negative SEO campaign is the problem.

    It's just as likely (maybe even moreso) that the broad core algorithm updates in March and in April are causing you problems. Both of those updates were about content quality and many sites without the strongest content had major rankings drops because of them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      It's just as likely (maybe even moreso) that the broad core algorithm updates in March and in April are causing you problems. Both of those updates were about content quality and many sites without the strongest content had major rankings drops because of them.
      This. A lot of poor sites that have been hanging on for a few years were handed the death blow.
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    • Profile picture of the author Matt D.
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      Supposedly, negative SEO cannot have an effect on your site because bad links are now just ignored by Penguin. If there is nothing in your Search Console indicating a manual penalty by Google, it is not a given that a negative SEO campaign is the problem.

      It's just as likely (maybe even moreso) that the broad core algorithm updates in March and in April are causing you problems. Both of those updates were about content quality and many sites without the strongest content had major rankings drops because of them.
      I thought so for a while too. But we've been making quality content for years. Most of our articles are well researched, regularly updated (those that need updating) with 2000 words minimum, up to 10k words for the long ones. We have almost 4 minute stay on page which is not bad for our niche.

      We haven't dramatically changed our content strategy but even old articles that ranked well dropped in rankings. And they were replaced by worse content on top spots. Worse as in, short articles, badly researched, grammatical mistakes, domains with lower authority... it makes no sense.

      We were never impacted this dramatically by any of Google updates before so it makes no sense this is the reason now.
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  • Profile picture of the author THEroyseo
    You already disavowed links on Google search console so you're good. This usually takes a while to do so the hard work is done.

    Be patient and things will come back in their place if your SEO is good.

    It happened to me many times and it works. The only mistake you could do is try to do too much too fast. Here's a story about it.

    A friend of mine did such a mistake. He wasn't patient enough after disavowing links so he bought another domain. He didn't 301 the old site to the new domain because he didn't want the bad backlinks to touch his new domain.

    When his old domain was "cleaned up", it was ranking very well. However, his new website had much greater texts, greater features, etc. So he had to do more work afterward.

    Conclusion, be patient.
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    Nicolas Roy
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    • Profile picture of the author Matt D.
      Originally Posted by THEroyseo View Post

      You already disavowed links on Google search console so you're good. This usually takes a while to do so the hard work is done.

      Be patient and things will come back in their place if your SEO is good.

      It happened to me many times and it works. The only mistake you could do is try to do too much too fast. Here's a story about it.

      A friend of mine did such a mistake. He wasn't patient enough after disavowing links so he bought another domain. He didn't 301 the old site to the new domain because he didn't want the bad backlinks to touch his new domain.

      When his old domain was "cleaned up", it was ranking very well. However, his new website had much greater texts, greater features, etc. So he had to do more work afterward.

      Conclusion, be patient.
      Thank you Nicolas. Reassuring words from someone like you with experience really help right now.

      In your experience how long did it take for the disavow effects to be visible?

      What tools did you use to check for bad links? I'm using Ahrefs but they're not indexing all of the links so some of them are still out there. Should I subscribe to some other tools as well?

      I think being patient is the best thing I can do too. I'm just glad someone who's been through this confirms my thinking.

      I'm thinking making new content, outreaching and making new linkbaits in the next 6 months should give me a good idea.

      Thank you for sharing your experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author KylieSweet
    Using disavow will not guarantee it and the saddest part is it will take time to moderate due work load of Google. So i would recommend not to bother with negative seo it will only ignore by Google.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bivhab
    Please post the links only google indexed sites. You can delete your links from those site which is not relevant to your site. You can also make web2.0 backlink.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    The quickest way for a negative energy - aka negative SEO campaign - to vanish Matt is to devote 100% of your energy to a positive aka white hat aka guest posting and friendship building and value creating campaign. Where your attention and energy goes, grows. These folks will vanish when you starve them of your attention and when you shift from fear to service. Works every time, quite quickly too....if you are super duper mindful
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  • Profile picture of the author nikki shah
    Have you tried disavowing these URLs?
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    • Profile picture of the author Matt D.
      Yes, disavowed all spam links. The traffic drop seemed to stop. Now slowly regaining it, it appears.
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      Hard work always pays off.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daijon Moss
    Google disavow file will definitely help you to recover your traffic and rankings. Also you can delete spam links if the file will not work.
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  • Profile picture of the author tomopalinski
    Hello Matt,

    Negative SEO is inevitable to avoid when you are successful in your niche and there is a lot of competition. Unfortunately, there is a lot of people out there that are weak-minded and resort to destroying somebody else's work instead of figuring out how to improve themselves.

    The good news is that you must be doing a good job with your SEO if others are going after you.

    Good thing is that you caught it fairly early and the number of links you need to deal with is not that big. Some time ago, a good friend of mine told me his business website was bombarded with thousands of links coming from spammy and porn websites.

    The fact that your traffic dropped already is pretty painful. Whatever the cause, keep building and improving your website.

    Continue building links to active, growing and relevant websites and keep increasing traffic to it that is engaging.

    On top of that, designate some time every day to disavow links that are spammy. Be persistent with it and continue doing it every day for as long as it takes. Keep in mind that you only need to invest a little bit of time from your day to disavow plenty of links at a time.

    The cost to keep this up is much higher for whoever is messing with your site. It takes a lot more time or money to create those links in the first place. If you keep this up, that somebody will eventually burn out.

    I hope this helps.
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    Good SEO work only gets better over time. It is only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change. -- Jill Whalen

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  • Profile picture of the author qlwik
    Actually You can't do much about it, maybe find who is doing this and threat him with court. Google is not recognizing who is doing this, so they penalize You.
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  • You have taken the right step to find our all bad backlink and disavow it. Next you can work on positive backlinks and keep linking with good domain.
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