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Negative SEO or just an accident?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Phileas Fogg, Oct 16, 2013.

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  1. Phileas Fogg

    Phileas Fogg Newbie

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    Firstly, I'd like to say hello to everyone because this is my first post here.

    One of my clients' website was penalised recently (4th Oct.) and while analysing the link profile I found a weird trend reported by both Majestic and Ahrefs link reports. My client's website is seven years old, DA53 and was performing very well over the years for competitive keywords. The site's link building used directories and sponsored articles on high DA blogs and websites, so it wasn't really black hat.

    At the beginning of September, one month before the penalty, hundreds of "news" domains started linking to my client's website. Such sites were sumatranews, harriscountynews, islamicnews, rwandanews and hundreds of similar domains.

    Screenshot from Ahrefs new/lost domains report and Majestic are attached.

    They all linked from the /search/Insurance?offset=40 page to my client's homepage. These domains look very spammy, especially because e.g. islamicnews is 302 redirected to australianews, then 301 redirected to news dot net, but if you are outside of Australia, then islamicnews is 302 redirected to news dot net. All of these domains are redirected to a search results page on news dot net.

    According to Ahrefs, these new linking root domains disappeared during the second half of September because all of these domains were redirected to news dot net and Google Webmaster Tools shows the linking pages from this website.

    It?s not clear why these spammy domains linked to my client, whether it was "just" a content scraper, a malfunctioning CMS or negative SEO, but it?s very suspicious. I checked the domain information of this news domain but their phone customer support is in Hong Kong and the lady couldn't give me useful information about these other websites.

    That?s how far I got with the investigation this afternoon. I?m not sure if this was just an accident or someone directly used this spammy domain network to "link bomb" my client's website, but if the latter is true, then it was definitely one of the reasons that triggered the Google penalty. I have seen negative SEO before, but none of them worked "efficiently"; however, those didn?t involve thousands of linking root domains. Interestingly, six other 1st page competitors received similar increase in linking root domains during the same time period.

    Do you know anything about this network? Have you heard about similar attacks?
     

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  2. NZJames

    NZJames Newbie

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    Do you outsource any of your link building? If not, yes I'd say one of your competitors has tried to neg you. Is the anchor text the same as your keywords?
     
  3. Phileas Fogg

    Phileas Fogg Newbie

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    No, we have been doing link building for six years. All the links are pointing to the homepage with the page title as anchor text.

    It's also interesting that WMT shows partial manual penalty (not sitewide) and three of the product pages have lost rankings since the 4th October.
     
  4. the_demon

    the_demon Jr. Executive VIP

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    Sounds very familiar, I forget the name of it off hand. I believe it's a CMS exploit though. Most likely a competitor negative SEOing you with crappy links.
     
  5. Phileas Fogg

    Phileas Fogg Newbie

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    Thanks, Demon. It's interesting that they linked to the website and later shut the domains down. Did they think that Google probably found the dodgy links and it's time to 302 redirect everything to one dodgy domain? It's difficult to understand the logic behind it.
     
  6. Phileas Fogg

    Phileas Fogg Newbie

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    It seems like we weren't the only one attacked. A few other websites had a similar spike in linking root domains during the very same period.

    majestic2.png
     
  7. Logician

    Logician BANNED BANNED

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    Yeah it seems like someone is using some tools and neg seoing. :S
     
  8. royserpa

    royserpa Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I really think this is just an accident, as OP said :D:D
     
  9. bartosimpsonio

    bartosimpsonio Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I'm willing to be this cost $5 at Fiverr..
     
  10. Logician

    Logician BANNED BANNED

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    Yeah but even if its an accident, its still not positive seo.
     
  11. royserpa

    royserpa Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    If it is not positive SEO, then it is Negative SEO, which then cancels the opportunity of being just an accident.

    Then in conclusion, it IS Neg SEO OP.

    Just get rid of the domain and set up a new one, then 301 the old one to the new one :D
     
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  12. Phileas Fogg

    Phileas Fogg Newbie

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    Unfortunately that's not an option. We'll cleaning up the link profile and asking for reconsideration. It worked before with other clients so it shouldn't be a problem, but it takes some time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  13. Logician

    Logician BANNED BANNED

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    Leith has a new BST that helps with removal of bad backlinks I think.. Check it out, it might help.
     
  14. goldendeli

    goldendeli Regular Member

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    I have recently seen some advanced negative seo shit homey, it could be just that.

    For example here is what I have seen, all bots blocked except Googles and other search engines. The whole websites copied on these sites and they are mass produced and automated with links pointing back to the homepage with the main anchors the sites were using.

    Since they look to google as duplicate content that is mass generated for "backlinks" then Gogole kills the sites rankings.

    Ive also seen some other negative seo that the sites copy reputable domains blatantly and put them in sub domains and folders on their websites. All of the links are pretty intelligently placed on the sites and they use cloaking to redirect like you said when you visit the URL normally. Only bots see the copied sites and normal viewers cant.
     
  15. deangregor

    deangregor Junior Member

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    Often times, spam attacks tend to be in the form of single attacks. A single attack occurs when a large number of low-quality backlinks with a single phrase as an anchor are pointed to a website on one day. However, multiple attacks also occur. These are cases where for about 3 - 6 months, a homepage or subpage gets thousands for backlinks for a single phrase as an anchor.