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Negative SEO in 2019: Destroying Businesses One Spammy Backlink at a Time

Author Note: It’s been almost four years since we originally published this post, and a lot has changed in the SEO world over that time. A lot has changed within our company, too. Negative SEO is harder to execute because of updates to Google’s algorithm, but they still rely heavily on reporting from website owners to combat it completely. Let’s dig into Negative SEO in 2019!

Let me introduce you to my “friend,” Negative SEO. In a nutshell, Negative SEO is the exact opposite of search engine optimization. Meaning, the intent is to drive search rankings into the toilet instead of increasing search visibility in Google.

Story Time: Getting Hit by Negative SEO

negative-seo
Orange line showing backlinks to wpsitecare.com

You see that massive spike in backlinks toward the beginning of November? As much as I’d like to say that was the day we hit the front page of Hacker News and garnered links from all over the planet, it definitely wasn’t that.

That was the day that someone initiated an intentional malicious attack on our website, wpsitecare.com. There are a number of ways to show that it was malicious, but the easiest way is by looking at the keyword density for our website before and after the attack, and by looking at where the links were coming from.

As far as keywords go, it definitely could have been worse. The keywords that we were spammed with weren’t that bad, but they definitely screwed up the goals we had for our site and the search engine positions we’d spent a lot of time and money working toward.

The Source of the Negative SEO Backlink Attack Killed Us

Even a bigger issue than the number of sudden links, was the spike in unnatural links from so many unsavory sources over the course of a few days. To be clear, these links weren’t coming from Buzzfeed or CNN.com. They were coming from the darkest corners of the internet.

A huge uptick in links, especially when they’re from shady sources is a massive red flag for Google and our site dropped out for a number of very important search rankings for over 30 days. Google thought we were trying to cheat the system and penalized us accordingly. It wasn’t good.

And while Google claims that that negative SEO is “extremely rare”, there are 58,700,000 results returned when you search for that phrase. And in 2019, while improvements have been made, Google still relies heavily on the disavow backlinks tool to identify unnatural links.

How Does Negative SEO Happen?

There are several in-depth studies that have been done that show that negative SEO can definitely be done, and that it’s really not even that hard. It’s even gotten to the point where “white hat” companies are requesting that negative SEO be done on their behalf to squash the competition.

In 2013, a very good friend’s podcast website was completely wiped out of Google search rankings after a massive spam attack. It was so bad that he wasn’t able to recover the domain and eventually had to close everything down for good.

Jacob King outlines everything that happened when wpbacon got cooked (see what I did there?) in his post “The Truth about Negative SEO,” and this graphic should give you some pretty good insight into how ugly negative SEO can get:

wpbacon-anchor-spam

The technical implications are incredibly ugly, but a connection that a lot of people miss when they’re talking about backlinks, and domains, and pagerank, and SERPs, and [insert other SEO jargon here], is that all of these things are tied directly into people’s livelihoods.

The reality is that with the right network and a little knowhow, competitors can be completely wiped off the internet and can lose their entire business.

Loss in Traffic = Drop in Revenue

google-traffic
Steady decline starting in early November through the end of the year

By dropping out of Google’s good graces, our company’s bottom line definitely suffered. It sucked. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with our Google traffic but right at the beginning of November our traffic started on a steady decline and we started slipping for rankings that we had held for a long time previously. It was tough to decipher what was going on until I looked into our backlink profile and noticed spammy links that matched up exactly with the start of our traffic slowdown.

We’ve since recovered and everything is back on track from an organic search perspective, but not everyone is going to to have the resources or knowhow to get reestablished in the search engines. It’s such a shady practice and I’d really love to see Google make it a higher priority.

Long term, it’s unclear if we’ve been put on some kind of Google watchlist for future suspicious activity. I hate to think that someone else’s actions have given Google a reason not to trust us, but it certainly isn’t out of the question.

What to Do if You’re Hit With a Negative SEO Attack

Using some sophisticated techniques, we were able to trace back to the source of the spam attack. They did everything through a third-party, an internet hitman of sorts, to try and cover their tracks, but they weren’t quite careful enough and we were able to uncover where everything started.

And as much as I like the idea of calling them out, it doesn’t actually improve our situation in any way. The only reason I even mention it is so that hopefully that person reads this and knows what they’re doing is impacting the livelihood’s of people and their families.

But the reality is, knowing where the attack originated gets us no closer to recovering from negative SEO. There’s no undo button even if the attacker had a miraculous change of heart. We still had to do the work to get back in Google’s good graces.

3 Steps for Recovering from a Negative SEO Attack

There are a number of great resources that do a deep dive on this exact topic which I’ll link to below, but at a high level, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Identify you’ve actually been hit with negative SEO. This may sound obvious, but website traffic can decline for all sorts of reasons. Negative SEO is only one potential cause. Things like algorithm updates, competitor savviness, and on-page SEO can all impact your search engine rankings. You can use a tool like ahrefs.com or semrush.com to identify an unnatural upswing in backlinks. And then using their keyword tools, you’ll be able to see if the links you’re receiving are relative to your content or not. If your recipe website suddenly has a thousand new backlinks referencing Bahamian hedge funds, you may have been hit with negative SEO.
  2. Disavow backlinks from untrusted sources. Google’s disavow backlinks tool allows website owners to identify websites that are linking to them and disavow the link, essentially telling Google not to factor that link into their rankings. This is an incredibly powerful tool and I don’t recommend using it without the guidance or assistance of SEO professionals. Once a domain is disavowed, it’s permanent. Meaning if you accidentally disavow a valid domain, no existing or future links from that website will give you credit in search. And there’s no way to reverse it. Identifying truly malicious websites can also require sifting through thousands of domains, which is another reason I recommend hiring a professional team to assist.
  3. Build incredible content as fast as you can. When it comes to negative SEO, the best offense is a good offense. Building competitive, high-quality, and industry-adjacent content as quickly and as well as possible is the best opportunity you have to return to Google’s good graces. Give Google a reason to trust you again by showing your phenomenal contributions to the internet.

More Resources for Negative SEO

If you’re more inclined to do heavy research and potentially go the DIY route with a negative SEO recovery (or simply want to understand the nuts and bolts of the whole process better), here are some fantastic resources to help you:

Four Years Later: Reflections on Surviving a Negative SEO Attack

We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve been able to rebound from our negative SEO episode relatively quickly. Many small businesses aren’t so lucky. We had a strong domain before the attack and based on other attacks we’ve seen, we could have been hit a lot harder.

I still occasionally see trends or little hints that there may still be a long-term impact from that original attack, but nothing conclusive. I might be overly sensitive, but I suppose that’s one of the long term effects of dealing with the fallout from a negative SEO attack — wondering if someday you’ll be hit again, or if you are on some kind of watch list that’s impeding potential growth.

The best path forward is to be prepared. If you suspect you’ve been a victim of negative SEO, or live in a highly competitive organic search world that may make you more susceptible, you may want to talk to some SEO professionals about strengthening your negative SEO shields. (Need a recommendation for an SEO consultant? Our parent company, Southern Web, offers comprehensive digital marketing services, including SEO!)

Did you already know about Negative SEO? Have you ever been hit? Would love to hear your experiences in the comments.

Please share this post with other business owners, or even your bosses if you’re an employee somewhere. Negative SEO is a very real thing with a very real impact, and we need to be prepared for when/if it comes. Help spread the word.

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70 Comments

  1. Brian Daniels

    SEO is extremely important. Especially when it comes to making sure that you want your search results to be. I’ve not heard of Nevative SEO before, but I’ll make certain to look into it now. Thanks for the article!

  2. Jean

    Negative SEO is something no business wants to have to deal with. It’s not fun, it damages your site in search engines, and can be time-consuming to clean up. However, as the web continues to grow negative SEO is becoming a much more regular occurrence.

  3. Louis Cook

    Sometimes it is really hard. Because if someone wants to ruin my business and build 10000k+ Spammy links pointed to my site then it’s not easy to get rid. Google should take care. I agree that site also has the responsibilities.

  4. Sandy Rowley

    Very informative article. Google ignores spammy links, but I would not wait to see how Google would react. Disavowing links that look suspicious is a good practice. What online service could you recommend that can analyze links in bulk that may be considered spam?

    Thanks!

  5. Alik Griffin

    I too am being hit right now. Non stop backlinks with adult anchor text. I started disavowing them and will do it weekly. Hopefully I can recover. My affiliate sales have been cut almost in half. Is it possible to contact Google and have a dialogue with them to help recover and destroy the spamming websites that are attacking?
    Is disavowing the only way to recover from this?

  6. Yvonne

    Negative seo is real and happening. If you work in a competitive area, chances are your website is being spammed. We get porn links and all sorts and have to disavow on a weekly basis. I check competitors websites via Majestic Seo from time to time to identify and good links to try to get and see that we are not alone in being spammed.

    Unfortunately you could conclude that the websites without the spam are the black hatters but they may even be using an agency so not know what terrible tactics they are up to.

    Spamming other sites with crappy backlinks unfortunately does reduce their rankings (if they aren’t constantly disavowing) in my opinion. It is low, low behaviour but some people unfortunately have no scruples. I live in hope that Google will sort it out one day. It is an unintended consequence of their trying to crack down on spam.

  7. Negative SEO? Ultimate Guide for fixing a negative SEO Attack
  8. Akshat

    I have hundreds and thousands of dofollow links pointing to my site from .tk domain spammy sites. How to fix it?

  9. emma williams

    Hello,

    Great Article you shared with proper details.. Thanks for it.

    My site is encountering negative SEO on my site

    My site had been connected with a huge number of terrible connections

    what’s more, site information is additionally duplicated

  10. Greg Kapitan

    Thank you for this insightful article on negative SEO. We had one of our salesmen leave our company to start his own in the home improvement business. It was not long after that we have noticed that our site started to tank and not show up organically for certain keywords that were what I call “our bread and butter” (main) keywords. Anyhow, we set up a backlink profile and sure enough we had a bunch of spammy low grade backlinks. We disavowed them to Google and hope to be on the rebound soon. Unbelievable that someone would do something like that!

  11. RugbyOnlineStream

    This is one of the helpful articles I’ve ever read and you truly helped me. I was able to combat some attacks that just happened by submitting the copyright infringement report to Google, thank you so much for that instruction. God bless you and I will promote this on my social.

  12. Aaron

    I’m getting negative SEO links from a few websites, including nanomagazine.com

    Is there anything one can do to report this to Google? Will they do anything? Connect the dots?

  13. Elijah

    We’re dealing with a major negative SEO attack with one of our clients in the loan space (very volatile, competitive vertical). It’s literally driving their costs up and revenues down.. It’s some scary stuff, that’s for sure.

    I see a huge opportunity for negative seo recovery experts in the upcoming years…

  14. Jonn

    This is not the late 2000s anymore, where someone could hit your site with spam, then your site was doomed forever; Technology has advanced; If you spam my today, and I see those links show up tomorrow; I can disavow them just as quickly; websites did not have this technology a few years ago, today, there is software that can pick your site apart, and find all those bad links just as quickly; Sure it can take months for the links to show up and take full affect, then all-most over night you will lose sustainable traffic. I have also recently read that google will be coming out with an update that will not give you a penalty for bad links; google will just ignore bad links that they do not find creditable, and to be honest, google should have done this along time ago, if they had, then competitors would have to go back home to mommy, and daddy because there tactics would be useless, even with that rollout (if it is true), that does not mean to ignore your link profile because spammers most likely will not let up, or even increase their feeble attempt to take you out. You should monitor your link profile 1-2 times per month, and make sure nothing fishy is going on. The reason people never recover these days is because they failed at all basic steps in monitoring their site for negative seo, and think they can never recover; In fact, it is far easier to recover from negative seo today, then it was 5 years ago, which was a certain death, and as with anything else, it will may take some time in order to recover, and as you are recovering, then go out, and see some creditable authority backlinks that will provide positive seo.

  15. Peter Charles

    Ryan,

    How were you able to trace back who hit you?

    We can find the urls, and who owns them but they are all in India, so we can’t figure out who hired them.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

  16. Nilson

    It’s funny that Google claims the negative SEO to be a rare thing but in reality it isn’t true at all. Sure there are some people who envy somebody’s business. It’s simply the competition. And no one can be 100 percent protected from it. The lowering of website’s ranks and its complete removal from the search engine are touched upon on deindex.pro. Can it be considered reliable?

  17. Paventhan

    Hi Ryan,

    Its very interesting and useful for newbie like me…I have almost more that 200 content in my blog and thinking every day, why I am not getting traffic, now only I came to k now the importance of the SEO…thank you so much

  18. vineeth m

    Learning how to get rid of negative seo is relevant nowadays. Some of my clients faced issues with the negative seo. but fixed it. your article is very good. Bookmarked.

  19. Suraj

    few months ago someone had hacked our site and started building many spammed links and because of that my traffic reduced, this is the second worst thing a website can face after deindexed.

  20. Marcos

    Ryan,
    Excellent Article! I’m sorry that this article came out of something negative but I am glad to hear you guys were able to recover. Negative SEO is definitely something that has to be inside of every business owners marketing plan.
    Because whether Google likes to acknowledge it or not, Negative SEO is real and I believe it is much easier to accomplish than it’s counterpart.
    I have several website’s and am always looking out for it.
    Thank again for the great article!

    1. Ryan Sullivan

      Hey Marcos, thanks for stopping by! Definitely a bummer that we had to learn this lesson “the hard way”, but we learned it, and that’s what matters 🙂

  21. may

    Hi
    Ive been trying to build white hat backlinks for my company and I realised that our backlinks are being disavowed (mainly posting on relevant forums, directories, etc – I swear it is all manual). After some research, one of the person that owned a blog site that I posted on, come back and said my links were “Spamming” her site. She won’t say what that entitles, but all my hard work back-linking has been removed (and other sites are dropping it too). I don’t know what I need to do to fix this.
    Any ideas?
    How do I make sure I am not considered spam by other sites….?
    Thanks in advance!

  22. Gaurav Kumar

    Nice Article.. I am not so sure this was a deliberate attack against my site, though. It could have just been part of a mass spam campaign and they chose my site as the lucky host of the day. But either way, the negative SEO effect was the same.

  23. Danish

    My website is experiencing negative SEO on my website
    My site had been linked with thousands of bad links
    and site data is also copied

    because of that my keywords are outrank
    what would be the solutions and precautions I can go with
    thinking to go for google disavowed tool. Could I have to go for that or another solution

    1. SEO Jedi Knight

      Im a small business owner that outranks most competitors in google, I agree my niche is small but 900 unique visitors with 3% bounce rate to a roof cleaning business 4-8 new calls per day. Anyway Spammers got hired by local competitor who were copying my content, spinning it and spamming it all over the net. I started offering free services and wrote reviews on his services. You should of read the Spam articles that got spun out by those spinners. In the end the competitor was getting requests for free everything, the spinners even put his entire business offering it for free to customers. I also actively went around and requested the websites with my spun content be removed. 90% removed the spam. They also attack your NAP details if you rely on local listings. Im in Australia. I been marketing my little roofing business since 2011 so was there when the major anti spam updates occurred. I didnt get hit with any penalties then but branded my business rather exact domain name match, NAP is the best way to take out a local business. I done it myself. Reporting incorrect NAP. Blackhats will add keywords into the Google business title that is not actually their business name. If someone copying your hard written content, start offering free something, FREE FREE the spinners cannot tell whats being offered for free.

  24. MatijaZ

    So, basically what you are saying that someone can deliberately ruin the online presence of someone else. Simply by making bad links to a site…… Even with automated methods.
    If that’s true (and it looks like it is), someone can push down your site simply by ordering massive backlinks for 5 or so dollars.
    Wouldn’t Google consider this in his algo?
    Regards

    1. Ryan Sullivan

      Yep, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Google denies that it’s possible, but it definitely still is. I’m sure they’ll continue to refine and make adjustments but for now, there are ways to gain competitive advantage with negative SEO.

  25. IMHR

    I think it is important to note, that if anyone suspects a drop in rankings, to try not to panic as there are more common causes to consider first; Perhaps a bunch of backlinks that your SEO guys built were not as high quality as you might want and the search engines updated algorithms have reflected this. Perhaps you had a ‘recent comments’ link that turned into 100’s of links from a specific Website, but it is no longer that recent and therefore not showing anymore as replaced by more recent comments. Either way, oftentimes i’ve found this is nothing that a few more high quality backlinks can’t fix, unless of course you are experiencing something more malicious. Oh and check your Webmaster tools for manual penalty notifications at least.

  26. Design and Promote

    yea negative seo can be a detrimental thing. i wonder how google knows what links are spammy and how to count them or not. seems like a lot of extra work for the person who has been hit.

  27. Don Hesh

    I had a same issue.
    One of my competitors build 1000’s of spam links for my site.

    Guess, what?
    Google thought those are very relevant because if citation (Anchor text). and I’m in number 2 for “SEO Consultant” for Australia.

    1. Danny

      Did they actually use “SEO Consultant” for the anchor text when spamming?

  28. Eusevio

    I wish there was a way to know which method google dislike. My website has recently drop and i don’t know what i did to cause this. I like several tools that show whats wrong with your website, but there was an seo analyzer that would be great.

  29. RE Johnson

    There should be stiff penalties for those slouches caught doing this black hat BS, all is far in making money my a##!

    There has to be something that can be done? I received an email today from a service offering negative SEO and instantly became worried. What if companies start using these services for offensive rather than defensive means? Not rarely as Google states but as normal business practice?

  30. siddartha

    Thanks Ryan for your precious articles regarding Negative SEO. Actually i was totally unfamiliar about this news and I’m sorry you went through that someone did this to your company.

  31. Darren

    It looks like we’ve suffered a negative SEO attack recently, it might even be ongoing – hence my searching around the term late at night. We’d obviously like to tie our problem to someone, firstly to stop them doing it and secondly start legal action for loss of business.

    You say you employed sophisticated techniques, but it would be really useful to know exactly what tools and processes you used to track the culprit down…

  32. Ahsan Parwez

    That’s sad Ryan, I have been in the SEO industry for long enough, and have predicted to my friends that negative SEO will become a business since white hat is too difficult for unskilled people to perform.

    And in 2014 negative SEO became a business and like you said, companies did hire them to take out the competition completely. Search Engines specially Google need to be more careful when such spammy links are being built and I think it isn’t tough to program their search algorithm to do that on its own.

    I do hope you recover from it and I suggest submit a Link Disavow request to Google (though they are slow to act, but do it just in case)

  33. Marshall

    Yes I agree it is entirely Google’s fault. A mess they created maybe in good faith trying to clean of their index but us the people in the field pay the price of their meddling.

  34. Doug Smith

    I’ve had a site affected by negative SEO. I had a few spammy WordPress comments and bbPress posts slip through the filters. The spammers included their info and links in those posts then linked to them from thousands of shady sites. I cleaned up the posts within a few hours but they kept linking over a couple weeks.

    I’m not so sure this was a deliberate attack against my site, though. It could have just been part of a mass spam campaign and they chose my site as the lucky host of the day. But either way, the negative SEO effect was the same.

    Fortunately, I was able to get search results back to normal after a few weeks and a bunch of work with Google Google disavow tool. Unfortunately, it took a lot of time that I’ll never get back.

  35. Brian Jackson

    Great article Ryan! I have published two articles on this subject now on my blog. People aren’t realizing how important and how big of a problem this really is. I just spent all day cleaning up over 60,000+ links from a recent Negative SEO attack. I published my post here: http://okaymarketing.com/easily-cleanup-negative-seo-web-ceo-rmoov/ I gave you a mention in the article 🙂 I appreciate others finally starting to write about this. Keep up the great work.

  36. Rob

    Sorry to see that someone isn’t confident in their own marketing and skillset to have to attack your company Ryan. The good news: you’re doing something right 🙂

    The real task at hand: ensure you don’t have this happen again by diversifying your marketing channels through other domains perhaps. Sucks having to, but something I realized a long time ago. Never the less, brand-impact around a name is brutal.

    Good luck on the upswing.

  37. Dan

    It’s seems to be human condition that there will always be people making money at the detriment of others. Why can’t we spend this time that we spend attacking others coming up with something new. Something creative!

    The Google Disavow tool can help assuming you catch it early enough, but we have seen these attacks before on our own sites and client sites, and they suck.

    1. Graham

      The disavow tool isn’t even a great solution. I have a client with a 15 year old domain and 30 year business. They used SEO services provided by their hosting company who they trusted. These SEO services were massive GSA backlinks to their domain and caused them to drop like a rock in the rankings. They cancelled the SEO but whatever automated system they use is continually spamming links.

      They had a manual action penalty in Webmaster Tools that I got removed after submitting a disavow file but the disavow is so slow compared to the rate at which spam links are being built.

      So it’s a negative SEO paradise right now.

  38. Leslie Stallard

    Sad that people would do that to you and, for what? It’s taking food off your table, don’t people stop and think about that? I’d read about SEO hacking but that’s it. Unfortunately the only thing to do is react quickly and aggressively if it happens. Years ago I had a business that was hacked in a different way and within a month was dead in the water. No income. Don’t know why or who.

    It would be nice if the SEO profile were required to be submitted to Google or Bing etc. and any changes confirmed by some authentication of the site owner. Probably not doable. Glad you found a way back.

  39. Ahmad Awais

    That’s sad! I think, you must share who you think did this, so that we as a community could do something. I’ve been a victim of an attack just like that, it was the day when I decided to stop sharing my products with people.

  40. Digital Challenger

    Never knew that negative SEO can effect a small business this big…..it would be great to know what steps are taken by wpsitecares & the strategy of recovery.

  41. John Locke

    Hi Ryan:

    Sorry to hear that someone did this to your company, and doubly sad that someone inside the community is behind it. You are a bigger person than I would be in this situation, by not naming names. Bad things happen when perpetrators are revealed on the internet.

    The attackers are cowards. That isn’t the way to do business. One can only think that karma will come back to bite them in the ass. You and your team have done a lot of hard work, and third-party links shouldn’t be able to devastate rankings like that. Hopefully Google will wake up.

    1. Ryan

      Agreed on all points John. I don’t know if I’m necessarily the bigger person though. Just playing things close to the vest for now 😉

  42. Simon

    It really is tough to have to go through this. I am sorry to hear this happened. For a few years now folks that would cheat in one way are now gaming Google in another way – NSEO. These said cheaters (for lack of a better term) are simply creating crap spam sites and linking competition to kill their traffic. It’s seems obvious right?

    You know what google is doing about it? Nothing. Their stance is that this “rarely happens” and crying wolf. Yeah, ok. If by rarely they mean it is agency versus agency or consultant versus consultant, then yeah rare compared to the overall SERPs. That is a very small part of the SERPs. It’s no less damaging though.

    We were building unique content every day. We were posting every day. We gave back like Google said to do, but more importantly because it is the right way to do content. Then one day we slowly were being beat in key words we dominated ironically by spammy sites despite the content footprint growing.

    We got a second opinion, third opinion, and fourth opinion – NSEO. We went to Google forums asking how this could be possible. We were literally called “spammy” not because of our content, but because there was a link somewhere somehow on a spammy website we never built. We NEVER pay for links, but still got hammered. You can pay $5 for a ton of toxic links I came to find.

    Word to the wise, if you are putting all your SEO efforts into Google it is best to diversify that with other SEs. Why, because if your blog has less than 1mil per month then you unfortunately don’t matter to them and you are wide open for attack. That is why large corps don’t get slapped with anything.

    My 2 cents.

    1. Ryan

      Yep. Diversity search engines and also diversify all of your strategies. Putting too much effort in search in general is like putting all of your eggs in one basket. It can be taken away literally overnight. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  43. Sarah Pressler

    Oh man, Ryan. What a horrible thing to have happen – and from w/in our own community. Makes me want to duck and cover. I’m sorry this happened. 🙁

  44. Ben Fox

    Wow. I’m sorry you went through that and I’m disappointed it was someone in the community. You want I should grab Dre and Kiko and we teach him a lesson MMA style? No? Ok…just asking.

    Anyways. Ryan, can you elaborate a little on the tools you used to find the bad SEO JuJu and what you did to start the recovery process?

    Do you have any recommendations on how to protect one’s self and business from this kind of attack?

    1. Ben Fox

      I’ll add, I know you dropped some links in the article, but anything you personally learned or found useful?

    2. Robert Neu

      Yo Ben,

      The unfortunate reality is that there really isn’t much you can do to protect yourself from this kind of attack. Really, in this situation, your only defense is your offense.

      The larger and more well-established your website is, the less impact these kind of attacks will have. The people who really get screwed when something like this happens are people without much authority in Google’s eyes when it happens. If you want to protect yourself against a spam attack, in today’s search landscape, the only real option is to do everything in your power to build brand and domain authority.

      You need to acquire as many natural links as you possibly can and pray that you don’t find yourself in the sights of a spammer before that happens. Until Google changes the way their algorithm works, anyone without a strong, authoritative domain is at serious risk for being totally blasted out of the search results.

      If it does happen to you, there are steps that can be taken, such as take-down requests, the disavow tool, and hiring an agency that specializes in link cleanup, but if it’s bad enough to go down that road in many cases you might just be better off closing up shop or rebooting entirely. It’s a sad state of affairs and IMO it’s entirely Google’s fault.

  45. Tony

    Sorry to hear this happened to you. It’s unbelievable that people run their businesses, and worse, live their lives based on negativity. I guess that’s why there are so many haters in the world!

    Happy to hear you were able to catch it and recover quickly. Valuable lesson to keep track of your metrics! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ryan

      Thanks Tony. It definitely isn’t cool but I’m glad our story isn’t as ugly a some others that I’ve seen. And definitely lame that people think the only path to success is by pushing down everyone around them.

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