Negative SEO Field Test 2015 Edition

ThopHayt

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Negative SEO has been a hot topic here for a while. Based on a friend's 2014 test and my own previous tests I have been of the opinion that it is either ineffective, or that it only has a very limited effect. But Google HAS released some updates since the last tests I ran. So I did it again.

The Target:
A page that I created and had ranked on a contributor-type site. I chose this to simulate taking down an established website like you often see on page 1. I ranked this page of mine for a medium competition keyword over a 8 week period. Total cost was approximately $97. I ranked it to spot #9 (as high as #8 and as low as #12) and had kept it stable(ish) there for almost two weeks before testing.

The Spam:
I threw four volleys of spam blasts. The first was a blast of 50,000 blog comments using only two anchor texts that share my two words of my main keyword. The next blast was 200,000 forum profile blasts, all with the same profile first/last name and info and with exact match anchor text to my main keyword. Next I blasted 25,000 web2.0 posts using a VERY poorly spun non-unique article, using again exact match anchor text to my keyword. Finally I did a giant SeNuke Fully Monty blast with poorly spun content, all using the same anchor text. These blasts took place over a 10 day period roughly.

What Happened:
The keyword was ranked at #10 before I started. Which should be a pretty easy spot to knock down, right? Nope. Three days after the first spam blast the keyword was actually UP a spot to #9. The day after my second blast it moved back down to #10 where it started, other related keywords (almost the same phrase) however raised a point or two. By the start third blast, however the keyword had jumped again up to the #8 spot (oddly enough with virtually no dancing). I started the fourth blast immediately after to gain max effect, and again saw little variance in rank over the next couple days as it stuck between #8 and at times #9. The spam blasts were now completed. Over the next 14 days however the rank began to bounce a bit between #7 and as low as #11 day-to-day. The rank would differ depending on the time of day I checked. Now, another (almost) three weeks later the main keyword has settled down... but at the #9 where it has been stably for a week. Its other related keywords are essentially where they were before the test. In effect there was either zero effect or a slight positive gain.

What My Thoughts Are:
The way I look at it I threw what I would consider to be the nastiest links that aren't obvious negative SEO at this test page. Any SEO would shit his pants if he were told somebody was going to do this to his pahe 1 ranked keyword. But in the end absolutely no harm came of it. What I'm guessing is that Google has really made strides to prevent negative SEO over the last few updates. The last time I tried this it didn't ruin the test page, but the recovery was a LOT more wild and it did lose rank completely for a short time. This time it almost appears that Google ignored the links, or at least took notice to the erratic change in incoming links. Worse yet, there were gains. However this does make me wonder if a simulated negative SEO attack could possibly be a new ranking method, well... I'm not that confident based on this one test, but I can at least say that an under-the-table attack such as this is at best ineffective.
 
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Panther28

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Quality case study, glad you attempted this, most wouldn't have the bottle (including me lol)
 

rezuke

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I am new to the SEO world. However, I know the basics. My question would be: Is it the only way to do negative SEO? because I am really interested in this topic. Thanks!
 

jak19

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great test and gained similar results with an old site i test, with viagra as the kw, over 500,000 links spammed to it and pretty much links ignored
 

asap1

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The things is it works, just takes time.

Eventually google will slap the site.

It happens all the time, look at any big money keyword and you will see negative seo.

Check back in a few months and the site will be gone.

I dont think its possible to take a site down within a matter of days or weeks.

Common sense tells me negative SEO works because all the big boys do it for any keyword worth real money.

If it didnt work i dont think they would waste time doing it over and over again.
 

Codliver

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Regardless of the fact this is bhw I think threads like these should be banned.

You're only encouraging new idiots that have no idea what they're doing to deliberately learn how to fuck up peoples sites.

I am new to the SEO world. However, I know the basics. My question would be: Is it the only way to do negative SEO? because I am really interested in this topic. Thanks!

Point proven.
 

seoestore

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The things is it works, just takes time.

Eventually google will slap the site.

It happens all the time, look at any big money keyword and you will see negative seo.

Check back in a few months and the site will be gone.

I dont think its possible to take a site down within a matter of days or weeks.

Common sense tells me negative SEO works because all the big boys do it for any keyword worth real money.

If it didnt work i dont think they would waste time doing it over and over again.

just also note that it's against the right concept, Google should harm sites if you are taking bad actions as a site webmaster.
some of moz team also speaking about that
 

godspeed007

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Amazing job OP. Yeah, lately there have been near to ZERO cases of negative SEO attempts with our SEO clients from their competitors. This is really a great milestone for Google and all webmasters.
 

greekahhh

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Guess it affects sites or pages with time, you initially get good results.
 

HammerDownTom

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Thanks for posting this! I'm really interested in seeing how this pans out long term as well, if the dirty link blasting will drag it down in the SERPs or not.
 

thepointguard

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I did the same test, but was trying to make it an obvious negative SEO attack. I used adult and gambling words and the position jumped from 10 all the way to number 1 where it has sat ever since. Maybe the new ranking method is using clear negative SEO keywords.
 

misteryou.

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well, 2015 neg seo doesn't need thousand of bad links bombed
 

rezuke

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I did the same test, but was trying to make it an obvious negative SEO attack. I used adult and gambling words and the position jumped from 10 all the way to number 1 where it has sat ever since. Maybe the new ranking method is using clear negative SEO keywords.

So instead of causing a bad impact, it helped the site to go all the way to number 1?
 

antichrist

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Give it time!

The last time I did this was about 6 months ago. Blasted the ever living shit out of one of my sites. 6 months later, BAM, high first page rankings. Out of no where it just jumped.
 

davids355

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Interesting case study. Interested to see rankings in 30 days or so but by the sounds of it it will have little or no negative effect.

I guess Google have patched their algorithm to account for this stuff - they can probably tell when back links are blatantly neg SEO just as they can (sometimes) tell when someone is diliberately trying to rank for a keyword (ie over optimisation).
 

ThopHayt

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The algo is definitely getting stronger against negative link patterns. But that luckily leaves a window open for spamming your way to the top possibly. Lets face it, spam is NOT popular now, so maybe it will work again eventually.

The links and anchors in this test were meant to simulate a VERY spammy SEO campaign and tank the page. The fact that it raised it says volumes about how Google views spam these days. May be time to start spamming again.
 
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