How to Spot and Address Negative SEO

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How to Spot and Address Negative SEO 10

How to Spot and Address Negative SEO

Category:SEO Tips & Info

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.”

 

 

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

 

Introduction

In this post,  I’m not going to tell you how I thwart off the many SEO’s that have attempted negative SEO against this site, JA Publications. That information is confidential. But I will tell you that 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. But, I will get you well on your way to protecting your sites from these dimwits and as long as you stay proactive, you should be just fine.

 

Negative SEO is becoming an obsolete process and soon, anyone that was profiting from negatively affecting other’s position in search will need to find a new source of income. Get a real job, ya bums!

Matt Cutts, Software Engineer for Google

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 are somewhat average as SEOs. 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 they rarely last long in the SEO game. Call it darwinism if you want.

 

 

Dealing with The C Students of the Internet Marketing Industry

 

 

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 week. Being at the top of Page 1 for more keywords than 95% of the other Michigan SEO companies 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.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^spamsite.com/$ [NC]
RewriteRule .* http://spamsite.com/ [R,L]

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.spamsite.com/$ [NC]
RewriteRule .* http://www.spamsite.com/ [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.

You should block the referrer, but more importantly, the host. Usually, Spam Bots have a blank referrer so blocking both has you covered.

It’s also a good idea to block the IP addresses of the sites as well.

 

So to block a spammer from your site, get their IP from your site’s access log and use it to replace 123.456.789 in the below code. Once the code is ready, it should be included anywhere in the site’s root .htaccess file.

 

Order Allow,Deny
Allow from all
Deny from 123.456.789

 

##block SPAM by multiple IP

Order Allow,Deny
Allow from all
Deny from 123.456.789
Deny from 456.789.123
Deny from 789.123.456

 

##Example of host and referrer blocking via .htaccess:

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

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^spammysite.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^anotherspammysite.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^ – [F]

 

The above lines tell the Apache web server to block by host and referrer from the URL ‘spammysite.com’ and ‘anotherspammysite.com.”
And, that’s about it.

 

 

 

In Closing

Pretty easy stuff here, huh?

Google Bowling is however, not easy. Most of the negative SEO techniques that these idiots use, do absolutely nothing most of the time. Trust me on that. We had 300,000 links with x-rated anchor text for over 6 months and I’m fairly certain our average position in search went up, not down. Only because those links were never held against us in the first place.

 

The folks selling negative SEO services are pretty pitiful. Even worse is anyone that spends money on this type of thing.

Negative SEO is difficult these days and continues to get more difficult since Google and most search engines are getting better at identifying the attempts from real factors that would penalize your site. Additionally, the way search engines utilize a website’s back link profile to determine ranking is by far the most misunderstood topic in SEO today. Most of the time, you don’t even have to disavow links or do anything else I’ve said to do on this page. Google is very good at spotting negative SEO. We’ve even been hit with back link blasts of over a half a million spammy back links in a matter of a couple days and those links never even show up in the Search Console. If it weren’t for Google Analytics, we wouldn’t of even noticed them. Chances are, if you notice changes in your positioning in search, it likely has nothing to do with your competitors that can’t outrank you or negative SEO tactics. Google makes a couple hundred tweaks or updates per week to the Search algorithm, so it’s not unusual to see up and down movement in this very dynamic environment.