July 24th, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation

Do You Have A Link Spam Issue?

Link spam is defined as inbound links to your website that are considered “junk” by the search engines. But there are different sources of link spam. One source is your own SEO efforts. If you hire an SEO firm, or you do it yourself, and you build a bunch of bad links to your website, then you could see your website penalized by a subsequent fall in search engine rankings.

There are some nefarious people out there who have figured that out and built a sub-niche within the SEO industry. It’s called negative SEO. This is the second source of link spam.

Negative SEO is when a competitor builds a bunch of spammy links to your website. You don’t have any control over that. And Google knows it. That’s why Google has started notifying webmasters of suspect links through Webmaster Tools. But if you get a notice saying that some links are mistrusted, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be penalized so don’t panic.

Matt Cutts recently posted this on Google+:

If you received a message yesterday about unnatural links to your site, don’t panic. In the past, these messages were sent when we took action on a site as a whole. Yesterday, we took another step towards more transparency and began sending messages when we distrust some individual links to a site. While it’s possible for this to indicate potential spammy activity by the site, it can also have innocent reasons. For example, we may take this kind of targeted action to distrust hacked links pointing to an innocent site. The innocent site will get the message as we move towards more transparency, but it’s not necessarily something that you automatically need to worry about.

If you find yourself being the victim of a negative SEO attack, notify Google and let them know. If you see your site fall in the rankings after such an attack, you can request a site review and have those links discounted.

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