How to protect against a negative SEO attack?

34 replies
  • SEO
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Hello,

We have some competitors in our area who we have gotten into pretty ugly "competition" with lately. They pretty much copied our entire site, with enough differences to make a copyright infringement claim difficult.

The owner here called them and demanded they take the site down, but without any real legal backing... and now they seem to have declared war on us...

In checking our backlink profile, I see a ton of links have been built to us from super spammy sources, using profanity and porn terms as the keyterms being hyperlinked / targeted. According to Moz, the last link seen was just a few days ago, and it's gone on since about mid October. Didn't notice this until yesterday.

So according to Google, in the way they speak without really saying anything concrete, it's not something "I should really be worried about, but if I'd like to, I can create a disavow file"... with their airy way of saying things, I'm not comforted by the answer.

(link removed by moderator)


What kind of protection do we have? Any way to end this?

Thanks
#attack #negative #protect #seo
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Yes, you can disavow links.
    If they copied your site with enough differences to make copyright infringement action difficult, they didn't copy, they modeled.



    If I were you, I'd get myself some good backlinks and some more citations.



    Originally Posted by David C. View Post

    Hello,

    We have some competitors in our area who we have gotten into pretty ugly "competition" with lately. They pretty much copied our entire site, with enough differences to make a copyright infringement claim difficult.

    The owner here called them and demanded they take the site down, but without any real legal backing... and now they seem to have declared war on us...

    In checking our backlink profile, I see a ton of links have been built to us from super spammy sources, using profanity and porn terms as the keyterms being hyperlinked / targeted. According to Moz, the last link seen was just a few days ago, and it's gone on since about mid October. Didn't notice this until yesterday.

    So according to Google, in the way they speak without really saying anything concrete, it's not something "I should really be worried about, but if I'd like to, I can create a disavow file"... with their airy way of saying things, I'm not comforted by the answer.

    (link removed by moderator)


    What kind of protection do we have? Any way to end this?

    Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author seowebup
      Completely agreed with DABK. Disavow and DMCA are the ways to go. Inform Google about the copyright infringement. They can use their index to compare actual timestamps of content and take appropriate action.
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  • Profile picture of the author David C.
    Working on disavow as we speak.

    Got plenty good backlinks, just trying to see if there's a way to defend against this attack, or any other remedy. Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
      Originally Posted by David C. View Post

      Hello,

      We have some competitors in our area who we have gotten into pretty ugly "competition" with lately. They pretty much copied our entire site, with enough differences to make a copyright infringement claim difficult.

      The owner here called them and demanded they take the site down, but without any real legal backing... and now they seem to have declared war on us...

      In checking our backlink profile, I see a ton of links have been built to us from super spammy sources, using profanity and porn terms as the keyterms being hyperlinked / targeted. According to Moz, the last link seen was just a few days ago, and it's gone on since about mid October. Didn't notice this until yesterday.

      So according to Google, in the way they speak without really saying anything concrete, it's not something "I should really be worried about, but if I'd like to, I can create a disavow file"... with their airy way of saying things, I'm not comforted by the answer.

      (link removed by moderator)


      What kind of protection do we have? Any way to end this?

      Thanks
      Originally Posted by David C. View Post

      Working on disavow as we speak.

      Got plenty good backlinks, just trying to see if there's a way to defend against this attack, or any other remedy. Thanks

      Does the owner know that you are airing his dirty laundry in public? The owner may disapprove of your actions discussing unpleasant or private things about the business in a 'public forum.'



      You have already stated that the company is in the SEO business with clients and now those clients can be informed by your competition that your company does not watch its own back, so the clients may decide that if you are not taking care of your own business then you are also not taking care of their business!


      What if a client pays someone else to audit their SEO and learns that they also have a problem. The client may decide to drop their business with you and your boss may decide to drop you!


      Not trying to be nasty towards you and your company. You have already posted a link and a forum mod rightfully removed it. The mod did the right thing because the forum has to also protect itself.


      I recommend that you request to have this thread locked, so that the thread will eventually disappear. The forum does not delete threads.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by Jeffery View Post


        Not trying to be nasty towards you and your company. You have already posted a link and a forum mod rightfully removed it. The mod did the right thing because the forum has to also protect itself.

        .

        Chill Jeff. You ARE being a bit much. There's no capital offense for having a link removed and as a SEO with over a decade experience in SEO theres absolutely nothing derogatory in SEO about "not taking care of your own business" in regard to negative SEO. Theres not a thing anyone can do about links bring pointed at a site besides disavowing. No way to cover that back. Theres no dirty laundry here. You are just switching blame to the victim.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
          Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

          Chill Jeff. You ARE being a bit much. There's no capital offense for having a link removed and as a SEO with over a decade experience in SEO theres absolutely nothing derogatory in SEO about "not taking care of your own business" in regard to negative SEO. Theres not a thing anyone can do about links bring pointed at a site besides disavowing. No way to cover that back. Theres no dirty laundry here. You are just switching blame to the victim.

          Fair enough. In my world one of the best ways for a corporate attacker to compete is to draw the victim out into the open and in cyber that starts with following the victim, etc. Posting links is not a crime, but it is measurable proof of intent.
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        • Profile picture of the author David C.
          Originally Posted by Janice Sperry View Post

          If it has gone on since mid October and you are just noticing it does that mean that it has not effected your rankings yet?

          The good news is that Google has gotten much better over the years at recognizing this old malicious black hat technique. They are more than likely ignoring these negative links already, especially if you have an established history of only good backlinks. You should disavow them but if your keyword rankings have not suffered I wouldn't get too panicked.

          If your website and/or income is being seriously affected you may want to contact an experienced attorney. There are things they can do to get someone's attention even if winning a copyright infringement lawsuit is unlikely.
          Thank you, Janice. That was my thinking, as to site being "hit" for a while (and linking domains showing up in webmaster tools), and site still in the same place. Seen a few posts in some places of people freaking the heck out because their site took a big dive after an attack.. who knows if it was something else that caused them to lose their rankings.

          Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

          Chill Jeff. You ARE being a bit much. There's no capital offense for having a link removed and as a SEO with over a decade experience in SEO theres absolutely nothing derogatory in SEO about "not taking care of your own business" in regard to negative SEO. Theres not a thing anyone can do about links bring pointed at a site besides disavowing. No way to cover that back. Theres no dirty laundry here. You are just switching blame to the victim.
          Thank you, Mike. I agree, he is being a bit much.
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          • Profile picture of the author DABK
            I, too, agree, he is a bit much. He's also right for many... If you worked for most of the companies whose owners I know, you'd be fired for what you've done (well, if they found out you did it).


            Originally Posted by David C. View Post

            Thank you, Mike. I agree, he is being a bit much.
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            • Profile picture of the author David C.
              Originally Posted by DABK View Post

              I, too, agree, he is a bit much. He's also right for many... If you worked for most of the companies whose owners I know, you'd be fired for what you've done (well, if they found out you did it).
              The "elitist" attitude of some of you. I thought this was where internet marketers were supposed to come to ask for advice? Didn't know there was a price to pay for that...

              There is no way to tell what company I work for based off this thread. And the only people who would go "thread mining" to check are paranoid folks on internet marketing forums trying to make someone feel inferior in their knowledge.
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              • Profile picture of the author DABK
                Ok.
                Elitist?
                Yes. It is where marketers are supposed to come for advice. You got advice. You don't like the advice. Why make a big deal out of it?



                The price for asking for advice on warriorforum is that you will get advice from people who see the world differently than you do. Did you expect to only get praised?


                Was not trying to make you feel anything, positive or negative; I was just saying that airing a company's laundry on a forum can have consequences if you are found out. Which is true. Might not be true with your boss; you might never make the mistake of leaving warrirofroum open at this thread on your computer at work. Your boss might not have installed tracking anything on their company computers. All possibilities. But how do we know, for a fact? We're not you or your boss(es). So we warn you.



                Which, by the way, is a sign of kindness..






                Originally Posted by David C. View Post

                The "elitist" attitude of some of you. I thought this was where internet marketers were supposed to come to ask for advice? Didn't know there was a price to pay for that...

                There is no way to tell what company I work for based off this thread. And the only people who would go "thread mining" to check are paranoid folks on internet marketing forums trying to make someone feel inferior in their knowledge.
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      • Profile picture of the author David C.
        Originally Posted by Jeffery View Post

        Not trying to be nasty towards you and your company. You have already posted a link and a forum mod rightfully removed it. The mod did the right thing because the forum has to also protect itself
        In reference to this, this paragraph just now made sense to me. Want to clarify something, as I just noticed a link was removed from my original post. That link was to a google forums conversation where someone said their site was hit by negative SEO and given a manual penalty by Google that sunk their business, in March 2019, which was shocking to me.

        I'd never post a link to my business like that. Had I reread the original post sooner, I would have noticed the link was removed, and explained it sooner. It's an understandable mistake on your guys' part, and lead to a ton of misunderstandings on my part... and me acting like an a-hole... shoot, I'd fire someone for that as well.

        My apologies, didn't mean to be so combative today, big misunderstanding there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    If it has gone on since mid October and you are just noticing it does that mean that it has not effected your rankings yet?

    The good news is that Google has gotten much better over the years at recognizing this old malicious black hat technique. They are more than likely ignoring these negative links already, especially if you have an established history of only good backlinks. You should disavow them but if your keyword rankings have not suffered I wouldn't get too panicked.

    If your website and/or income is being seriously affected you may want to contact an experienced attorney. There are things they can do to get someone's attention even if winning a copyright infringement lawsuit is unlikely.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    As Janice Sperry said, the latest iteration of Penguin does not penalize bad backlinks, it just ignores them. Other than disavowing them, which can't hurt, the only thing you can do is to continue getting quality, editorially placed backlinks from reputable, relevant sites - Just like DABK said.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Gramm
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      As Janice Sperry said, the latest iteration of Penguin does not penalize bad backlinks, it just ignores them. Other than disavowing them, which can't hurt, the only thing you can do is to continue getting quality, editorially placed backlinks from reputable, relevant sites - Just like DABK said.
      I agree. Many years ago I heard the theory that 500 millions backlinks can hurt web site ranking.

      For topicstarter. If they use your content, you will use DMCA. If they use your design, you need to change your design.

      The real attack is hackiing your site. It can be problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author RuskinF
    You can Disavow the links. When they posted such ill-links, the forums may have caught their IP address. You can start collecting data on about such backlinks and use it as an evidence against them.
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  • Profile picture of the author zarnecki
    Originally Posted by David C. View Post

    Hello,

    We have some competitors in our area who we have gotten into pretty ugly "competition" with lately. They pretty much copied our entire site, with enough differences to make a copyright infringement claim difficult.

    The owner here called them and demanded they take the site down, but without any real legal backing... and now they seem to have declared war on us...

    In checking our backlink profile, I see a ton of links have been built to us from super spammy sources, using profanity and porn terms as the keyterms being hyperlinked / targeted. According to Moz, the last link seen was just a few days ago, and it's gone on since about mid October. Didn't notice this until yesterday.

    So according to Google, in the way they speak without really saying anything concrete, it's not something "I should really be worried about, but if I'd like to, I can create a disavow file"... with their airy way of saying things, I'm not comforted by the answer.

    (link removed by moderator)


    What kind of protection do we have? Any way to end this?

    Thanks

    you can disavow but i do not think you can recover from negative SEO attacks that easily. youll have to be very thorough. another reason not to spend all your marketing on SEO
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    disavowing should do the trick. The only real other thing you can do is programmatic in changing your url but that would disrupt your good backlinks and be self defeating. Even for those that think negative seo still works ( and I am not positive it never works anymore at all) the best counter has always been in link building with Great links. So think more offensive than defensive.
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  • Profile picture of the author David C.
    Been here long enough to know nothing is being tracked. Actually worked with him to grow the company from scratch. Also didn't air out any specific company's dirty laundry, as there's no way to identify what company I'm working for.

    But I appreciate being told that I should be fired, when gathering info for the sake of the company without any identifying info, at the request of the owner. Thanks for the "advice".

    As to everyone else, thank you for the actual advice. Not trying to be unappreciative of you folks, you've been very helpful.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Dude! Really?


      Originally Posted by David C. View Post

      Been here long enough to know nothing is being tracked. Actually worked with him to grow the company from scratch. Also didn't air out any specific company's dirty laundry, as there's no way to identify what company I'm working for.

      But I appreciate being told that I should be fired, when gathering info for the sake of the company without any identifying info, at the request of the owner. Thanks for the "advice".

      As to everyone else, thank you for the actual advice. Not trying to be unappreciative of you folks, you've been very helpful.
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  • Profile picture of the author hyperjerkseo
    1. Disavow links
    2. Check for Duplicate Content
    3. Monitor Your Social Media Mention
    4. Create new citations
    5. Press Release: State what happen,down play it, how your going to resolve it, and how your going to protect against it.
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  • Profile picture of the author codyhay
    In this scenario you should Disavow the links created by the competitor and invest in some good backlinks.
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  • Profile picture of the author pramodrdd
    yes, as above said Disavow spammy links and build stronger links through guest posting.
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  • Profile picture of the author monoj
    I think that your website content is very much important.Please check your content and write it properly.use eye catching font and color.Website speed is another cause.put down proper real speed and create user friendly website.You create black links write way and don't use software or create black links manually.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      The OP is talking about negative SEO. What does what you wrote have to do with that?

      Originally Posted by monoj View Post

      I think that your website content is very much important.Please check your content and write it properly.use eye catching font and color.Website speed is another cause.put down proper real speed and create user friendly website.You create black links write way and don't use software or create black links manually.
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  • Profile picture of the author IJMR
    Are we in the 2012? Negative seo is pretty dogshit atm, Google new systems just screw it very fast.
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  • Profile picture of the author innateseo
    Disavow links.
    Focus on your site and continue to change and update the content.
    Google is becoming more aware of negative SEO, spam links have much less of an effect as a result.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    Originally Posted by zarnecki View Post

    you can disavow but i do not think you can recover from negative SEO attacks that easily. youll have to be very thorough. another reason not to spend all your marketing on SEO
    Originally Posted by hyperjerkseo View Post

    1. Disavow links
    2. Check for Duplicate Content
    3. Monitor Your Social Media Mention
    4. Create new citations
    5. Press Release: State what happen,down play it, how your going to resolve it, and how your going to protect against it.
    Originally Posted by codyhay View Post

    In this scenario you should Disavow the links created by the competitor and invest in some good backlinks.
    Originally Posted by pramodrdd View Post

    yes, as above said Disavow spammy links and build stronger links through guest posting.
    Originally Posted by innateseo View Post

    Disavow links.
    Focus on your site and continue to change and update the content.
    Google is becoming more aware of negative SEO, spam links have much less of an effect as a result.

    This thread is now becoming a magnet for forum parrots regurgitating the same information to increase post count.
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    • Profile picture of the author hyperjerkseo
      Originally Posted by Jeffery View Post

      This thread is now becoming a magnet for forum parrots regurgitating the same information to increase post count.
      I wasn't trying to be a parrot, and I don't care about increasing post count. I just wanted to share my knowledge to help folks to get one more step closer to their goal.
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  • Profile picture of the author Butt7777
    But now there are many shortcuts available in the market to create fake SEO for websites, in this case, what will be the protection policy we can adopt?
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  • Profile picture of the author kironmaa
    Need to check website backlinks and try to develop new health backlinks to protect your website.
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  • Negative seo defense is not an easy task to do, you have to be active and work smart. First, you have to check spammy backlinks or traffic bots which cause you in this trouble. YOU can check spammy backlinks through the webmaster panel and devoted them . For spammy bot traffic you can check on google analytic and blocked them I hope it will help you...
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  • Profile picture of the author nikitacod
    This is a guide that will help you understand how you can protect your business from becoming a victim. If you are serious about building your brand online and keeping it safe, this is something you should not ignore.

    1. Set up Google Webmaster Tools Email Alerts
    2. Keep Track of Your Backlinks Profile
    3. Protect Your Best Backlinks
    4. Secure Your Website from Malware and Hackers
    5. Check for Duplicate Content
    6. Monitor Your Social Media Mentions
    7. Watch Your Website Speed
    8. Don't be a Victim of Your Own SEO Strategies
    9. Don't Make Enemies Online
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  • Profile picture of the author sanjaypatel
    In your case, Disavow, DMCA and Copyscape are the ways to go.
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  • Profile picture of the author BennyJ20
    Wow, that sucks man. They should be concentrating on making their own site better rather than trying to tear down yours :/
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