Can I Undo the Damage?

by jesmah
18 replies
  • SEO
  • |
I work for a small business writing original content for our blog. Just recently, my higher-up asked that I start looking into link-building to help with SEO. I know NOTHING about SEO, but I started with guest-blogging on other sites, or asking webmasters of relevant sites if they'd be interested in featuring us or our content. I've been doing okay with this kind of stuff, but then, in a totally brainless moment... I saw a comment on here from someone about buying gigs from Fiverr. And I did, some ridiculous promise of 3,000 backlinks and directories.

Clearly, I didn't do my research, and now I'm absolutely terrified that I've done horrendous damage that can't be undone. If there's anyone that could offer me some advice here, it would be most appreciated.
#damage #undo
  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    Relax! Don't worry. I've abused the shit out of sites and its EXTREMELY UNLIKELY that 1 fiver gig will cause any type of penalties. If that was the case, people would be taking out their competitors left and right just by ordering a fiver gig. Even if you ordered 10 gigs I still doubt it would cause any problems. In my experience, 90% of fiver links need forced indexing otherwise they don't get indexed in the first place. So if you didn't send the links to any type of indexing platform (ie. indexification) then I wouldn't worry about it. Even if you did I wouldn't worry about it.

    I've sent 100k spam links to a site in 2 weeks and the site was never penalized. It still ranks on page 1 of G after like 9 months. Neg SEO isn't as easy as most people think. So if it was me I'd just ignore it and get back to building good links.

    -RS
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  • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
    Agree with RedShifted. I'm a sourpuss who glooms over Fiverr threads to spell doom and gloom, but I gotta say that one gig is probably nothing to worry about. Almost every site has some dodgy-looking links.

    If Google wants to have a chat with you about the linking practices they're going to send an automated message to Webmaster Tools. If you're really anxious about the links, that's also the place where you can find the disavow tool. Even Matt Cutts (of Google's search spam team) has said that a few links are probably nothing to worry about, but if you're losing sleep you can just disavow them.
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    Links in signature will not help your SEO. Not on this site, and not on any other forum.
    Who told me this? An ex Google web spam engineer.

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  • Profile picture of the author linkassistant
    the short answer: don't worry about it, it's not likely to affect the site

    the long answer: If you have Google Webmaster Tools set up for the site, check if there are any messages or a penalty in Search Traffic -> Manual actions.
    If there isn't, just keep an eye on web traffic, especially if a Penguin refresh happens. If these links ever become a real problem, you can disavow them with the disavow tool.
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    • Profile picture of the author aureusb
      Originally Posted by linkassistant View Post

      the short answer: don't worry about it, it's not likely to affect the site

      the long answer: If you have Google Webmaster Tools set up for the site, check if there are any messages or a penalty in Search Traffic -> Manual actions.
      If there isn't, just keep an eye on web traffic, especially if a Penguin refresh happens. If these links ever become a real problem, you can disavow them with the disavow tool.
      Vote as best answer. Totally agree. If you have "trouble sleeping at night" quoting Matt Cutts, just use the disavow tool. There's still a small chance that the manual webspam team may find out and take manual action though. Especially if someone reported you and had evidence for Google to do an investigation.
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
        Banned
        Originally Posted by aureusb View Post

        If you have "trouble sleeping at night" quoting Matt Cutts, just use the disavow tool.
        Only people doing SEO use disavow tools, which is proof that a person is trying to game the SERPs, otherwise they wouldn't care about the links in the first place.
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        • Profile picture of the author jxam69
          Originally Posted by yukon View Post

          Only people doing SEO use disavow tools, which is proof that a person is trying to game the SERPs, otherwise they wouldn't care about the links in the first place.
          This I disagree with - Google are perfectly happy with SEO when done within their guidelines and they fully understand, and even advise, that ordinary people should use the disavow tool when necessary.

          They won't penalize you for helping to clean up their link graph.
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        • Profile picture of the author chris_87
          Originally Posted by yukon View Post

          Only people doing SEO use disavow tools, which is proof that a person is trying to game the SERPs, otherwise they wouldn't care about the links in the first place.
          Yukon, is disavow nothing more than a giant honey pot then for google to catch people, if your suggesting to not use disavow?

          Thanks for clarification.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    The last thing I would do is ignore this. It's true, it may not hurt the site's web presence. However, it might also cripple the website at some point in the future overnight with absolutely no warning.

    Get out in front of this. You work for a real business. We are not talking about some crappy IM'er site that can be torn down and rebuilt if it gets hit.

    Depending on the type of links that were built, you might be able to remove some yourself. If they provided login information at the sites where they threw up their spam, I would start using that and getting them removed.

    If not, make a list and start contacting webmasters to ask for removal. Track everything: how you tried to contact the webmaster, when you tried, and what kind of response did you receive. Include all of this in a text file and submit it to the Google Disavow tool for the links where there was no response from the webmaster.

    It is better to take care of this now, then to wait and see if there is a problem later. If the site does get hit, you are looking at probably a minimum of 6 weeks to recover it. Even then it may not recover or it might take months.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    What some of the other comments dismissed is OP clearly said the site/blog is a small business.

    Yes, be worried when you blast junk links at a money page.

    Where it stands to fail you is when that fiverr gig sells that same link blast to the next 3,000 fiverr gig buyers over the next year or so. Google getting a whiff of those abused backlink pages isn't a good thing.

    Here's your SEO lesson of the day, quality trumps volume when it comes to links. You need to understand that a lot of people on IM forums are building disposable sites (churn & burn), those junk links can sometimes temporarily rank pages, then the sites get slapped to oblivion for all of eternity.

    Do not build junk links pointing at long term sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author jesmah
    Thanks for your input. I intend to do my best to repair any damage done by following this advice. I'm way too nervous to just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best, so I appreciate being pointed in the right direction. Live and learn, I guess!
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim45
    It takes years of abuse before google will slap you down. If you are worried about it then I'd ask the person doing the back links for a list and check each one. If it doesn't meet your standards then contact the site owner and ask them to remove your link. Then focus on getting high authority site owner to link to your site, you only needs a few high authority sites to get your site moving in the right direction.
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Tim45 View Post

      It takes years of abuse before google will slap you down.
      Complete nonsense.
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  • Profile picture of the author patco
    Nothing will change for the site... It would be too easy to outrank even sites like Amazon when selling affiliate products... Just be sure to continue with your SEO practice and forget about this BAD experience!
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  • Profile picture of the author jxam69
    jesmah - there is a lot of misinformation in this thread from people who may mean well, but who lack the experience to understand the importance of getting out in front of an issue like this as quickly as possible.

    A relatively small investment in clean up now, can prevent a devastating problem later.

    Pay particular attention to MikeFriedman's and Yukon's comments - those guys are telling you what you need to hear.

    BTW - algorithmic penalties are not your only concern.

    Even though all those links got blasted out in a short period of time, Google won't discover them all immediately. This means that the links that Google initially discovers may not trigger any algorithms like Penguin, but they may give you a temporary boost in rankings. If one of your competitors is paying attention, sees you move above them, and takes a look at the source or your sudden jump in rankings, they may gather evidence and submit a spam report against you which could result in a manual penalty.

    If a manual penalty is applied, then the fact that you were taking action before Google found out (requesting removals, disavowing) will give your reconsideration a much better chance of succeeding on the first attempt.
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  • Profile picture of the author FranksToys
    Ouch! 3K directory links? That's just asking for trouble.

    While Redshift may haven't neg SEO'd a site that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. He probably didn't do it right or was hitting a site that was far to big for his efforts.

    Regardless that's a douchy thing to do, people who neg SEO sites are the pond scum of the world.

    Given this already happened I'd first reach out and see if the Fiverr seller can help you remove the links. If not, start monitoring your rankings closely and do your best to remove your links from the lowest quality sites as you see the links come in.
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  • Profile picture of the author DPM70
    It doesn't take years of abuse - a quick spam blast and then a report to Google (by competitor) could end you up very quickly with a manual review in plenty of SERPs (particularly noticed this where I'm challenging for a physical product at holiday times) - then you're looking at 6 months plus to recover.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Originally Posted by jxam69 View Post

    This I disagree with - Google are perfectly happy with SEO when done within their guidelines and they fully understand, and even advise, that ordinary people should use the disavow tool when necessary.

    They won't penalize you for helping to clean up their link graph.
    There's nothing legit about links that need disavowed, it's kinda out of Google guidelines.

    True they won't penalize anyone for using the disavow tool, but your already penalized to begin with If your using the disavow tool. All your doing is verifying what Google thought was a bad link.






    Originally Posted by chris_87 View Post

    Yukon, is disavow nothing more than a giant honey pot then for google to catch people, if your suggesting to not use disavow?

    Thanks for clarification.
    IMO that's all the disavow tool is doing, trying to convince people to verify paid links. Genius on Google's part.
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  • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
    My first comment to this thread is just crap. Apologies, I don't know what I was thinking. Of course 3k bad backlinks on the company site can be an issue.

    Some of the links may be on abandoned sites (blog comments, forum profiles and such), so contacting the site owner may not be fruitful. If this is the case, the link spammer probably can't help either. Some are running their own directory sites, and if that's the case he might be able to nuke the links.
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    Links in signature will not help your SEO. Not on this site, and not on any other forum.
    Who told me this? An ex Google web spam engineer.

    What's your excuse?
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