Blog Networks Can Harm Your Website’s Rankings

Written by: Jason Bayless | January 21, 2015

No matter what type of website you’re trying to raise up Google’s page ranks, buying links from a blog network is only going to hurt you. Google has algorithms that specifically look for links purchased from blog networks, and most of the time, these links are very easy to detect. Blog networks may advertise that their links are totally undetectable by Google algorithms, but it just simply isn’t true. Most of the engineers working for Google have computer science degrees from MIT or Harvard, and the spammers running blog networks almost certainly don’t.

Blog networks use cheap, fast, easy techniques to spread vast networks of low-quality blogs throughout the Internet, and then they use these blog pages to return backlinks to paying customers in the hope that they appear natural to Google algorithms. Building natural backlinks takes time and effort, and for that reason, Google rewards websites with quality backlinks and penalizes those with unhelpful links. After all, Google is a business, and it wants to protect its brand by returning the best search results possible.

How Google Penalizes Black Hat SEO Strategies

If you were targeted by a marketer selling backlinks from a blog network before you knew they were illegitimate, you may have hundreds of harmful backlinks spread out all over the Internet. There are tools you can use to get these links removed and disavowed by Google. Actually, Google itself offers the Disavow Tool, but this app should only be used as a last resort. Before flagging your purchased links, simply contact the operator of the blog network from which you bought your links and request that all of them be taken down. This solution is the easiest, and while you lose money on a bad investment, it’s better than completely losing your Google ranking or possibly being banned.

There are other ways negative SEO can hurt your business, even if you haven’t bought backlinks and had never heard of blog networks until recently. In the early days of Google search rankings, underhanded marketers used black hat techniques for ranking highly in search results. Back then, it was possible to publish spammy content with unnatural keyword density and obnoxious links and ads, and Google would return these terrible pages at the top of its search results. Over time, Google’s algorithm got better at filtering out pages like these, and as a result, not many people waste time publishing this kind of content anymore. However, the demise of spammy black hat SEO brought on the rise of a new kind of pernicious Web marketing strategy: negative SEO.

Prevent Negative SEO From Harming Your Website

You can be targeted by black hat marketers in many different ways. Instead of trying to rank highly themselves by publishing spammy content, they attack rival websites with unnatural backlinks, hundreds of identical, copied blog posts, removal of good backlinks and malware uploaded to a server. There’s no way to convince these people to stop hurting other Web masters and become productive citizens; you just have to stay vigilant about your published content, backlinks and site software.

If you’re a WordPress blogger, there are plugins you can install to filter out some of the negative SEO, but if you have a custom-coded website, you have to use external tools to monitor your content. There are services that crawl the Web for all backlinks pointing to your website, allowing you to see when new ones are created or old ones are removed. You can also use Copyscape to check for duplicate content around the Web. If all else fails, you will have to resort to using the Google Disavow tool to break the links coming from bad Web pages.

Negative SEO attacks are not rare, but they happen so intermittently that you may never have to deal with one. To keep your website on Google’s good side, do your own SEO work or hire a reputable company to raise your search rankings.