Negative SEO Campaigns Are Still A Thing, Sadly
A couple of years ago I wrote about a clients website who was under attack from a negative SEO campaign and how you can clean up and remove spammy backlinks pointing to your website. First, let me sum up a negative SEO campaign as fast as I can so you can protect yourself against them.
A negative SEO campaign is someone creating a bunch of low quality and spammy backlinks pointing to your website so you get flagged or penalized by Google.
These campaigns are easy to catch if you are using any backlink checking software like Ahrefs.
You will easily be able to see a multitude of massive links in a short period of time. Kind of like I did just now when looking at my Ahrefs dashboard. This is what the dashboard looks like.
Wow! 1.6K new backlinks. I can certainly say that we are currently not doing any lnikbuilding for the website so 1.6 backlinks sticks out. The nice thing about Aherfs is you can see each and everyone one of those links. Here’s what that looks like.
Those Backlinks Look Spammy!
You can see in the top left hand corner I have new backlinks selected and that shows backlinks posting to our website that Aherfs has crawled in the last 7 days. What looks wrong with those backlinks?!
I had a good chuckle when I saw this screen. Over the last two weeks we’ve launched a website for Viva Orthodontics and started web development on another. When we do this we add a backlink to our website in the footer. But that would only equate to 50 or so backlinks as footer links are on each page.
Could someone seriously be going through with a negative SEO campaign on our website? I surely hope not.
The scary thing with these campaigns is that any can launch them on any website. And sadly the majority of website owners who don’t have an SEO company working with them will not notice this until it’s too late and their rankings have tanked or worse, are penalized.
You don’t want any of this to happen so what do you do?
How To Remove & Clean Up Bad Backlinks?
This is an easy two step process.
1 – I’ve already mentioned it but the first step is to signup for a backlink checker tool like Aherfs. Once you sign up, you can go into your dashboard and select referring domains. In the case of this example, I want to remove the new backlinks pointing to my website from the past week so I am selecting the new referring domains.
There is a little “Export” icon on the middle right of the screen. I click on that and all these domains get exported into an .csv file.
Once I have this information I can then go onto step 2.
2 – The next step is to submit a disavow file within your Google Search Console. You of course need to have Search Console setup to do this. Using the .csv file I download from Ahrefs, I add the domains into a text file which looks like this. Feel free to download that. Just be sure to change the date on the top line of you disavow file. Also, be sure to rename it.
Now you might want to wait until the bad backlinks and negative SEO campaign has slowed down. Or else you will be submitting this file too many times. In our websites example, I am going to wait a month and see if anymore spammy backlinks are created. That way I can add them onto the disavow file and submit them when the campaign comes to an end.
There you have it! It’s pretty easy to remove bad backlinks pointing to your website. It could save you thousands of dollars. Especially if your main traffic source is Google and SEO.