Understanding Negative SEO – The Unsuspecting Blitz

understanding negative SEO

If you are running a successful website that has built up a degree of authority you need to be on the lookout for jealous competitors. At this point – understanding negative SEO is crucial…

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Meet Harry…

Take for example Harry (totally made up case study name but you get the picture!).

Harry runs a pretty ‘banging’ brass doorknob site that sit’s proudly near the top of Google’s search results. He is go-to resource for information about all things knobs and all things brass!

When people type in their doorknob queries on price and trends, Harry’s site turn’s up on the first page of results every time.

Not only is Harry witnessing awesome amounts of organic traffic – he’s making a killing on affiliate sales to!

Harry before the Negative SEO attack!

Life couldn’t be better for Harry – he’s got this online entrepreneur gig under his cap and the sky’s the limit.

But one day Harry sits down with his morning cuppa to check his stats and nearly drops his coffee all over his lap. What has happened to his affiliate sales?

On closer inspection he discovers that his beloved website has received a manual penalty and been de-indexed because of user-generated webspam.

The dark clouds begin to gather above Harry’s head…

What Happened Harry?

When Harry looked into this further he noticed a pile of new pingbacks within certain post comments on his site. From here he did a quick backlink check to find out they had increased tenfold.

Links to siteThe problem is that these backlinks were not welcome backlinks – they were linked to sites that had no relevance to brass doorknobs whatsoever!

In fact it went a little further than that – these backlinks linked to sites that were linked to the porn industry (‘growth’ pills if you get my meaning!!!).

The tags on these dirty little posts seem to cover every spam topic known to man – Viagra, poker tactics, debt, weight loss pills…the list goes on and on.

Harry suddenly realizes that he has become the victim of negative SEO…

Understanding Negative SEO

The internet marketing world is pretty much a battlefield no matter what niche you chose to work within. SEO is powerful but SEO is also a cut throat community!

Websites, even those with good quality content, often struggle to be listed as one of the top 10 results on Google. This means that competition is high and not all of these competitors are gonna play by the book.

The days of two worded keywords are well and truly over – these days you have to search for lower popularity long-tail phrases in order to rank.

Most websites will NEVER know what it is like to rank for a keyword on the first page of Google’s results…

Negative SEO effecting ranking

But there are the lucky ones out there – and they certainly reap the rewards!!!!!

Enter the unscrupulous website owner – the guy that desperately wants what you have. How far do you think he/she is willing to go to knock you off your shiny little perch?

These individuals will have no problem in making use of SEO tactics that, in essence, knock down their online competition from the SERPs.

The sad thing is that these negative SEO weapons are very, very easy to come by and to use. They simply cook up a dose of spam backlinks and point them at their competing pages – it’s a knockout!

The Backlink Nuke

How on earth are these ‘gutter scum’ able to bring down your site with very little effort or thought?

Unfortunately there are numerous services and websites out there that offer these sorts of tools. They don’t charge you for them – they make money from the tacky adverts they place around the tool.

Check out the image below:

Scam Automation For Backlinks

But these unscrupulous website owners can even go a step further – they can build their own low quality, spam-ridden niche site and use that as a weapon against you.

All they have to do is use anchor text from this site to link directly to your site…as many times as they see fit!

It’s not going to be long before the ‘big G’ takes note of these spam links and penalizes you accordingly. You get de-indexed by major search engines, and your competitor gets to fill the now vacant SERP slot.

Please don’t think that these types of attacks are aimed at the big boys on the market – understanding negative SEO is important for webmasters in ALL niches, no matter how small or insignificant they appear.

Be Prepared

The reason I posted this article today is due to the fact a good friend of mine fell victim to one of these attacks a week ago.

Thankfully she was vigilant enough to check her webmaster tools on a regular basis – I suggest you do the same!

Simply log into your webmasters account and click on ‘Search Traffic’ then ‘Links to Your Site’. From here you can determine whether or not you have received a tidal wave of low quality backlinks over a short period of time.

Google now provides a service/tool to combat these sort of attack – disavow backlinks tool. I strongly suggest you check it out today and see how it works.

Once you have a list of all the suspicious links pointing towards your site you can submit a request to Google and they will begin the process of ignoring these harmful pests.

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10 comments on “Understanding Negative SEO – The Unsuspecting Blitz

  1. Wow Chris, amazing post!

    I mean, I wasn’t even aware of this!
    I mean, I knew that your website could be the victim of attacks, the one I have known is if you had ad sense for example, that a malicious visitor starts clicking like crazy on you ads, thus google will penalize you.
    But this?
    Man, I had no idea, good thing I read this post!

    As a blogger, you are happy when you gets comments right? Thanks for pointing out the NEED to bee on top your site and keep a close eye on it!

    Also thanks for indicating the remedy for this, that google webmasters tool tip is great, I will save it for future references!!

    Thanks again, this post is VERY useful!

    Best regards


  2. Hi there Chris
    This is quality information that I didn’t know anything about previously so I’m grateful to you for bringing it to our attention.
    The idea that you can spend days, weeks or whatever getting your site really well ranked only for a competitor to shoot you down, not by their own proper efforts but by foul means, is pretty shocking so it’s good to see that at least google recognises this and let’s us do something about it.
    Are you sure that if I follow those instructions that my site(s) will be properly protected?

    1. Hi Mark,
      Yes I am sure but it’s always worth keeping a ‘worst case scenario’ in mind with this type of thing. Just keep an eye out for the tell tale signs and keep your site frequently maintained 🙂

  3. I am fairly new to online marketing and only created my website a few weeks ago.
    I never new about back links or attacks to your website to be honest I find it v upsetting.
    I have spent a lot of time and effort setting up my website iiand I only started recently imagine if this happened to someone who had been working on their website for years its an awful mean thing to do !
    Thanks so much for all your information I saved your blog to my homepage for future reference if that’s OK with you if that’s going against any WA regulations please let me know .

  4. Hi Chris,

    This is a very helpful post for internet marketers. Now I am aware that unscrupulous people will to the extent to destroy a top ranking website using dirt-cheap methods.

    Definitely I will me more vigilant and check my Webmaster Tool often to avoid such risks.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Now this really is good advice. I’ve gone straight onto my webmasters account and checked, fortunately nothing found at the moment. I feel victim to this sort of attack a couple of years ago and it was a major pain especially as I didn’t know anything about it then. I’ve bookmarked this page and am definitely acting on it. Thanks.

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