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Ahrefs, Link Network, & Angry Client

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by coltreign, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. coltreign

    coltreign Junior Member

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    I work for a digital marketing agency. We recently got a new client. Before us, they had an SEO guy and I'm assuming he used a lot of blackhat techniques to try and get them ahead.

    As you guys know, a lot of these techniques don't work anymore and will get you blacklisted by Google and it looks like they were manually hit a few months ago.

    I'm not quite sure what he did, but we went through search console and disavowed any sketchy looking backlinks to websites that wouldn't pop up on Google's SERP.

    We've been trying to build their site back up and get it healthy again through press releases, etc. Keep in mind, this is a legit business and we're trying to do right by them because they've got us on retainer.

    I just happened to check them out on Ahrefs and I find that their anchor tag cloud consists entirely of "christian louboutin outlet" or "cheap louboutin shoes uk" or some sort of variety of that. I checked their ******** backlinks profile and 99% of it is spam and most of it uses the same anchor tag variation. Compared to competitors and they don't have anything like this. It's crazy. Haven't seen this much junk in my entire career.

    Shared it with my client and he really freaked out. I told him I was going to clean it up and he still freaked out.

    Figured I'd come here and ask the pros for advice. So... any advice as to what I can do here, fellas?

    tl;dr: client's website full of crazy sketchy backlinks, need to try and clean them up but no idea how to identify source. trying to figure out what's going on here and figure you guys could provide some insight.

    Thank you!
     
  2. daveguy

    daveguy Power Member

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    If they got a message in search console you're in easy street. Disavow the questionable links at the domain level and then submit reconsideration. For better odds, send Google a record of your emails in an attempt to get each link removed manually. They want you to try and manually remove the links and disavow. Good luck.
     
  3. coltreign

    coltreign Junior Member

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    Hey, thanks for your reply! No message in search console that I'm aware of, but they got hit before I took them on as a client. According to Ahrefs, the backlinks aren't even there anymore. They were there last night. I have no idea why they would suddenly be changed out overnight. Not sure what kind of Blackhat trickery this is. Any idea?
     
  4. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Is the client angry at you OP? Or just angry at the situation? Just curious.
     
  5. coltreign

    coltreign Junior Member

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    He's angry at the situation. The SEO guy that did all this shit charged him tens of thousands of dollars. I mean, good on him for getting paid, I guess? But really, fuck that guy for setting further lowering the industry standards. Makes it harder for legit digital marketing agencies like mine to get good clients. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally down with Blackhat shit, but I'd only ever do that to MY OWN sites, never a client's site, and if I ever did, I'd be extra sure to let them know exactly what they're getting themselves into.

    I think he was a little mad at me because when I showed him the report I had made last night, I couldn't actually show him the spammy backlinks because they were no longer there. They had changed. Literally overnight! Made me look totally stupid like I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily I remembered that I had screen shots of them to show him, but I didn't remember to bring that up because his reaction caught me off guard. He's a pretty conservative Asian guy who rarely displays emotion so to see him like that threw me off.

    Talked to Ahref representative today and they said that the links indeed did change on me and that I didn't misread it or do anything stupid. So theoretically, we're in the clear, but that doesn't mean the links and anchors aren't automatically set to change to another page or something in order to avoid detection, you know what I mean? Still trying to figure out what's going on here and whether or not it should be a cause for concern and what I should tell my client. Gotta write up a report and get it to him by tonight.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  6. imscseo

    imscseo Newbie

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    Doesn't make sense to me.

    There are a few possibilities:

    1. Negative SEO from the disgruntled seo guy
    2. One of his page is hacked with content related to "louboutin"
    3. That previous SEO guy was trying to diversify the anchor text ...lol

    You can't really stop people from negative-seo your sites.

    I would be very worried though if my target anchor-text was inside. It messes up the ratio.
     
  7. Reaver

    Reaver Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Ffs OP. That sounds like a mess. :| I can't help you but there's plenty of people on here who probably can.
     
  8. lipton80205

    lipton80205 Newbie

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    Without seeing the ahrefs report, I'm only making an assumption.

    The old SEO guy might have been 301ing a bunch of spammy domains to the clients site. Ahrefs, picks up the anchor text from 301. Since he was no longer working with them, he could have removed the 301 and Ahrefs just crawled those 301.

    I would spot check some of these old backlinks and see if there were in fact removed. If they have been removed, then dump all those spammy links in GWT to get those sites re-crawled.
     
  9. siddharth999

    siddharth999 Regular Member

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    i agree with limpton , thats the case . if you already disavoved the bad links i think all you need to do is wait . you can also add fresh content though .
     
  10. coltreign

    coltreign Junior Member

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    I manually went in and looked at all the referring pages and was unable to find the links. I did find a number of spammy backlinks via search console though and disavowed some of them. I'm just afraid of what would else could be floating around out there.
     
  11. PBN345

    PBN345 Junior Member

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    Sounds weird.

    What's the BL profile like aside from the bad links that keep popping up?

    What's the site actually ranking for at the moment? Organic traffic high or low?
     
  12. coltreign

    coltreign Junior Member

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    Aside from the "discount louboutin" variation keywords, the bulk of their backlinks are garbage. 98% of their backlinks are crap. A lot of Russian, some Chinese, and, much to me and my partners amusement, one from The Million Dollar Homepage. There are maybe a dozen that seem legit, maybe 2 dozen, out of the hundreds or on search console and thousands I can see on Ahrefs.

    According to Analytics, site isn't ranking for anything out of the ordinary and seems healthy. Rankings are mostly brand related, with several related to industry, though not as much industry related rankings as I would expect for the sheer amount of content on their site as well as the age of it.

    Organic traffic has recently averaged between 5K-6K unique visitors per month. Daily visitors are somewhere around ~200 or so. Historically, last year, around April, there was a spike in traffic which showed over sudden increase of 2K visitors per day for about a week or so and then immediately went back to normal.

    Recently, every once in a while, there's a weird spike in traffic. There's also quite a bit of traffic from Russia.

    When we first started AdWords campaign, ads were disapproved due to what Google flagged as malware on site. Couldn't find malware anywhere, even after manually combing through FTP and running every sort of scan possible. Searched through as many lines of php as I could bare looking for any telltale base64 or mamaget strings of code which could have been potentially malicious. We ended up just disallowing search console from crawling the malicious link Google provided (which lead to 404). We were approved that day. Everything has been fine until now.
     
  13. PBN345

    PBN345 Junior Member

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    Sounds like an absolute mess - been in this situation with inheriting this kind of thing before.

    Worth broaching the subject of starting again on a new domain? If 98% is crap?
     
  14. cloakndagger2

    cloakndagger2 Regular Member

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    I'd check the site isn't hacked (if wordpress the plugins can be the cause or even the root server) was this domain previously used, those sort of keywords are not spam per se they are used on hacked sites or sites previously used for the product. Is it possible the previous SEO is miffed, yes, but unless they are complete idiots I can't see them doing this. Enter the url into google e.g http://www.thesite.com , you'll soon know if anyone has recently done any 301's to it because weird urls will show near the top of the results but with no bold text because the domain itself is the anchor text. Depending how it is ranking a new domain is also an option as mentioned above. Have you run the site through an external link checker to see where the external links are pointing, it's a good indicator as to whether the site is hacked or not as well because usually they will embed links, which of course are caught as external links. i have come across this a few times, no my site is not hacked, I've checked etc, really why do you have several outbound links pointing to this crap then lol.
     
  15. coltreign

    coltreign Junior Member

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    I would say they should just jump ship and start again with a new domain, but they've had this one since 1997 and are probably going to be pretty reluctant to make that change, so I want to make sure that's the last option I present them.
     
  16. silverkitten

    silverkitten Newbie

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    Do you have anything in your search console telling you you've had a manual penalty, or have your rankings/traffic just been hit with no messages about it?