As much as we advocate holistic SEO here at Yoast, there will always be people turning to the dark side, employing less than savory techniques for their own gain. When someone targets a website with actions intended to lower its ranking in the SERPs, it’s called ‘negative SEO’.
Before we dive in, if you want to learn more about link building strategies and other essential SEO skills, you should check out our All-around SEO training! It doesn’t just tell you about SEO: it makes sure you know how to put these skills into actual practice!!
One way people can try to damage a site’s rankings is by getting loads of unnatural, shady links to point to a website. Now, you shouldn’t worry about being the target of a negative SEO attack like that the moment you notice a drop in your rankings! In most cases, the cause is something else. But, if you ascertained that there’s suddenly a great many shady backlinks to your site, it may be time to take action. Google’s disavow links tool allows you to ask Google not to take certain links into account when assessing your site. But is it OK to use this tool, and is it always necessary? Let’s discuss in today’s Ask Yoast!
Shant emailed us about this predicament:
I noticed about 18,000 links to my domain in Google Search Console from a few unethical websites. I suspect someone is targeting me with negative SEO, but my rankings are currently not affected. Should I still disavow these 18,000 links to my domain or could this harm my ranking? Or will Google’s algorithm realize this is a negative SEO effort and ignore them?
Watch the video or read the transcript below for the answer!
Dealing with bad backlinks
“Well, if you don’t want those links, then disavowing them doesn’t really hurt you. If you know how to disavow them, by all means, do it. And you can disavow at a domain level, so if they only come from a few domains then just disavow those entire domains. If they’re not links you’re proud of, then they’re probably not helping you rank either.
But, if it’s not really hurting your rankings at the moment, then you can also just do nothing because, yes, Google will usually figure out a lot of this by itself and say, “Hey, these domains are really, really shady and we should not allow these links to do anything. Good luck.”
Read more: Clean up your bad backlinks »
So, what happens if you get lots of links from one site? Would Google consider that as suspicious, and could you, therefore, be penalized?
We got a similar question from Gabriel Heffes:
“I recently had a post on Tumblr that was reblogged and resulted in 9000 links to my page, making Tumblr and that post the most link-sending post. Will these thousands of links cause a Penguin penalty and hurt my rankings?”
Check out the video or transcript below for the answer!
Are backlinks from one source dangerous?
“The honest answer is: no. This is actually a good thing, not a bad thing. Google knows how Tumblr works. It can see that these links are not bought or in any other way bad. So don’t worry about them. Celebrate the fact that you’ve got so many links on Tumblr! And make sure you’ll create another post like this because it will actually help in your ranking. Good luck!”
Keep reading: 6 tips to a successful link building strategy »