How to Spot and Address Negative SEO Attempts

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How to Spot and Address Negative SEO Attempts JA Publications, Inc. 9

How to Spot and Address Negative SEO Attempts

Post Feature Image – As the image shows, our competition in Michigan is attempting to use negative SEO to affect our position in search. Negative SEO is very common in this industry.  This post does not go into how we defend our sites against these morons, as we don’t want to give them any information or ideas. If you are dealing with negative SEO from mediocre competitors trying to outrank you with negative SEO – give us a call at 866-504-7774. We will help you win.




Here’s How to Spot Negative SEO and What You Should Do About it

Matt Cutts was quoted in a Forbes article on negative SEO: “Matt Cutts, a senior software engineer for Google, says that piling links onto a competitor’s site to reduce its search rank isn’t impossible, but it’s extremely difficult. “We try to be mindful of when a technique can be abused and make our algorithm robust against it,” he says. “I won’t go out on a limb and say it’s impossible. But Google bowling is much more inviting as an idea than it is in practice.”





SEO can be very competitive. As an SEO consultant, I have taken many self-proclaimed SEO experts off of the first page of search engines by simply being better than they are at SEO. When I say many, I mean over 100 at least. People start SEO agencies constantly, so 100 would actually be low balling it. With that said, negative SEO is something that we deal with every day. Usually, when one mediocre SEO company that can’t outrank us gives up, there’s another in their place immediately.



The Morally Questionable and Negative SEO

The types of people that attempt to harm their competitors rank with negative SEO are usually the same morally questionable folks that pretty much suck as SEOs to begin with. Basically. you’re dealing with all the people that are not skilled enough at White Hat SEO (or Black Hat for that matter) and must resort to negative SEO. Don’t worry, these people are incompetent 99% of the time.  The good thing is these folks never last long in the SEO game. Call it darwinism if you want.



Dealing with The C Students of the Internet Marketing Industry

In this post,  I’m going to tell you how I thwart off the many SEO companies that have attempted negative SEO against this site, JA Publications. Never once, were these dim wits successful. Not even for a single keyword. Usually, when you suck at SEO, the word you put in front of it doesn’t really matter much. If you’re not good at organic search engine optimization, you’re not going to be good at negative SEO either.



Here’s How to Assure Your Site’s Rank Is Not Affected by the C Students of the Internet Marketing Industry


Step 1 – Go into the Search Console (or Google Webmaster Tools as it was once called) and look for all the inbound links to your site.




Step 2 – Go to each site and ask yourself, “Is this site relevant to my website? Even if it looks the least bit SPAMMY, add it to a .txt file called disavowed-links.txt. Any domain that looks fishy or spammy, be sure to disavow it. I have a file saved on my desktop solely for this purpose. I add domains to it every day. Being #1 is a lot of work.



Step 3 – Submit your text file with all of the irrelevant or spammy domains to Bing and Google via the Disavow Links tool.



Step 4 – If any of the domains redirect to your site, create a 301 redirect in your .htaccess file that points back to the spam site. This will cause an infinite loop and break the redirect at the very least. Creating infinite loops whenever someone attempts to negatively affect your SEO with redirects is a great way to block the attacks. In htaccess, add a 301 that redirects all traffic to your site from the spam domain back to the origin or spam site. The loops that we are talking about are usually more than the average cheap-o third world, oversees, shared web server can handle, which will break the redirect. We like that.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$ [NC]
RewriteRule .* [R,L]

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$ [NC]
RewriteRule .* [R,L]

Step 5 –  Report the spammy domains to ICANN. More often than not, this will get the domain removed completely.



Step 6  – You should block the HTTP referrers & hosts of the Spam or irrelevant sites that are redirecting and/or linking to you. Out of all the steps, this is the most important. This entails blocking the referrer in your htaccess file. Every server OS has the equivalent of this file. The syntax is different based on the server OS.




RewriteEngine on
#Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} spammysite\.com [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} anotherspammysite\.com
RewriteRule .* – [F]

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^ [NC]
RewriteRule ^ – [F]

The above lines tell the Apache web server to block by host and referrer from the URL ‘’ and ‘”



And, that’s about it. Pretty easy, huh?


Google Bowling is however, not easy. It’s actually pretty difficult these days since Google and most search engines can identify the attempts from real factors that would penalize your site.

Since JA Publications went live about 4 years ago, negative SEOs have never once been successful and we continue to climb in rank at a steady pace.




Negative SEO Failed Attempts – Coming Soon



How to Spot Negative SEO