In 1996 the
creation of Google led to the boom of web pages and the knowledge that you
could make money with them. Hence, day after day the competition to reach the
first positions in the search engines was growing.
It was then, when SEO was created (Search Engine Optimization). Although for the readers of this blog it is not necessary to define this concept, SEO is based on increasing the number of organic(unpaid) visitors of a website in different search engines.
For this reason, more and more websites and companies are starting to use SEO as their main tool to improve the effectiveness of their websites and make them more appealing to Google. The more visible you are to Google, the more customers your website will have.
It's like a high school popularity contest, the more people pointing you as the best football player, the more people will believe in you and the greater your popularity will be.
Now, the role that SEO plays on websites is so important that many have used it as a weapon to defend themselves against their competitors. This weapon is known as Negative SEO.
In this article, Sara Lopez, Marketing Manager in Trendhim, explains the consequences of these attacks and useful techniques to reduce their effects according to their own experience.
It can be a real disaster when a link bomb attacks your page. We have experienced it. Unfortunately, neither the police nor the insurance companies can do anything about it. You are the one responsible for solving it.
Last August, on a Friday, as any other Friday we were about to check the usual performance indicators. The CTR is constant, the number of visitors is reasonable as usual, and our backlink profile - completely wrong. In particular there were two parameters that broke our expectations. Suddenly, our 38-degree office was frozen. We had been attacked by thousands of "link bombs".
- The number of links linking to our website is excessive. In a normal context, this would be good, but not in this one.
- About 9% of the anchor texts of the links linking to our Danish domain "dk" moved from being Trendhim to being "porn"
When you send more links than usually to a web page, Google becomes suspicious. 5/8 years from now Google could be manipulated by buying thousands of links from Russia, China or India. At that time everything was based on the number of links rather than on its quality.
But Google is not stupid, it implemented an accountant to penalize all those pages that try to rank higher by using fake links. If a webpage receives many links and these seem suspicious its meant to lose positions in Google. In other words, if you have a web page that suddenly gets tons of links, you're going to be penalized.
Although this is not the only way in which you can be harmed, if the keywords that link to your web (anchor texts) are not related or are not present in your web, Google algorithm will penalize your site .
That's why Negative SEO attacks are unsophisticated and most of them do not represent a big problem.
Generally, the ones responsible for these attacks are those who want to harm their competitors. For about $79 you can buy a "link bomb" that eliminates your competitors from the market. Thousands or millions of links will link to your competitor's website.
What did Trendhim do about it?
Having more than 8500 links linking to our website under the term "porn", telling Google that Trendhim’s content is pornography forced us to review those links one by one.
In a market as competitive as accessories, being visible to Google is crucial. For that reason, if our rankings go down, our customers disappear.
There are four things to do nowadays.
- Send a file to Google with all the unwanted links through the Google Search Console. And if you haven’t yet added your website to the Google Search Console, it's about time to do it.
- Request a manual review from Google through their contact form.
- Get in touch with the webmasters linking to your website and try to make them delete the link.
- Recover your rankings by getting good links to your website.
The months after the attack were hard, it was us against time. Since neither the police nor insurance companies could do anything for us, our daily routine was based on sending files to Google trying to fix the problem. And unfortunately, it could be a matter of life or death for our business.
Did they really hurt us?
In the beginning, the links were directed to our sunglasses page. Luckily the sunglasses were not our strong point and we did not lose as many customers as we would have lost if they were linking to categories like bow ties or lapel pins.
The damage was minimal because we sent constantly lists to Google with unwanted links.
Attempts to contact the websites from which the unwanted links came from were useful, but not always. As soon as you say "attack", "link bomb", "help" or "Important - this is not spam", your mail goes directly to spam. It’s important to mention that after contacting the webmasters through social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn, the unwanted links were removed.
Everything needs to be said, we did not sell what we expect. What it’s even worse, our competitors from somewhere in Denmark tried to get us out of Google using unfair methods, and we could not identify them.
Sara Lopez – Contact: sara-lopez.com
Country Marketing Manager in trendhim.es
Computer Science Student at VIA University