standenman

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Trying to figure out why my ranking has fallen so dramatically. Looking at the list of sites that like to my site on google webmaster tools, I see lots of very strange links - none related to my area of work, none that I know anything about. Should I be concerned?
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Stan,

Do they seem to be links from a bad neighborhood or spammy sites?
 

standenman

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Hi Linda-

Thanks for responding. Not sure what you mean by "bad neighborhood". Many are sites I know nothing about. They are odd names like aarondawson.co, jeuneserrants.org, szymanowski.info, ohiofooodbanks.org, changinggearsmovie.com, laketravisgolfvacations.com. If one goes to these urls there is no real content or are very, very odd. I have never paid for links. What in the world do you think is going on? Could this explain my fall in organic SERP?
 
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Greg Schueler

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I see you mention you have never paid for links, but did you (or have you ever) hired anyone to do "seo" for you even if they didn't mention "links"?

Is your domain name newly acquired?

It could also be possible someone is trying to negative seo you.
 

standenman

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No I have not paid for SEO services in the past. My ranking in organic was pretty good until about 8 months ago.
 

Greg Schueler

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"Negative SEO"? Now I am really concerned.:confused:

Not saying this is what happened. I am just thinking of reasons why.

"Negative SEO" is when a competitor buys/sends bad/spammy links to a competitor's site in the hopes that Google penalizes them and drops them from the rankings. There are many debates online if this can actually happen, but I have heard cases where it has happened.

You should make a list of these links and add them to the disavow tool. It may help. Regardless of how they got there.
 

standenman

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You know I had a very bad experience with a developer on upwork. I paid her a lot of money but finally terminated the contract because she was just copying my competitor's website design. She actually entered my development site and destroyed files! And I wondering if she did this as well. Is there anyway to find the date this stuff happened>
 
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You can get a trial with ahref and find out when those links appeared easily enough.
 

standenman

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It does appear that I have been hit by a negative SEO attack. Is there any way to find out who?
 
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There's no way that I know of to find out who's responsible, a lot of that stuff is probably removed by a few layers. Your competitor hired a guy from fiver that uses a guy in India with a bot network that pushes fake links through old SEO black hat system built in 2012.

You'd be better served by learning how to use a disavow file, and telling Google which backlinks you don't want counting against you.
 

Tony Wang

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Just took a very brief look at your link profile; there are a few spammy links, but not enough to worry me. As others have noted, definitely use the disavow tool just to be safe.

Those links I saw were found pretty recently, so it could very well be the person you hired on Upwork. Most unfortunate that you encountered someone like that.

As for your drop in rankings, there could be numerous reasons for that, aside from a few spammy links. I'd look for those other reasons.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I'm sure you're doing this but don't use majestic or ahrefs to look at your links. Use Google Search Console.

Go through with a fine tooth comb. Anything that looks spammy, I would try to nuke it with the disavowal file.

Anything that looks 50/50 legit vs spam, I would probably keep. You'd be surprised what's helping you that is spam.

I would just try to get rid of as many backlinks that are 100% spam (you can tell by the optimized anchor text typically) and I think you'll be fine even if you have a few 50/50 links that Google is counting as spam. Those aren't enough to tip the scales more than likely. I imagine there's a threshold and once you lower your 100% spammy links you will drop below the threshold.

Also, once this is done, keep in mind what others have said in this thread about other issues you may be facing. Website optimization and such.
 

bhartzer

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definitely use the disavow tool just to be safe
I would definitely disavow the links that you see--but getting them removed is going to be much more effective than disavowing.

Also, if you're seeing those links, there are probably a lot more links that you don't see. So, you'll need to use Majestic, Ahrefs, Google Search Console, and put those through Link Research Tools (link detox) to make sure you see all of the links. I wouldn't use just one tool to find them.
 

heckler

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...don't use majestic or ahrefs to look at your links. Use Google Search Console.

@Josh - What's the logic here? Google shows maybe 5-10% of all the backlinks you actually have.
 
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