Spam Scare: What to Do

by Gary on May 1, 2008 · 3 comments

in Back Links,Link Strategies,SEO,SEO Mistakes,SEO Tips

What would you do if you suddenly get a massive amount of inbound links and find out its all spam?

If you know anything about SEO you know that we all loooove inbound links however we don’t want a whole slew of irrelevant links from who knows where. Of course if you are into paid links and invested in buying links then you wouldn’t be sad but we all know that there’s the danger of being flagged by Google because, as I have posted earlier, they frown on link schemes. So I ask again what will you do if this happens to you?

A SEOmoz member, Calamier, recently had to holler for help because this is exactly what happened to him. From 4000+ links his inbound link numbers soared to 24000+. Upon investigation of the inbound links he found out that they came from “a huge list of irrelevant sites” with every topic imaginable including “casinos, kosher meat, viagra, guns, link directories, and Nigerian SEO companies.”

In my opinion he did a good job of washing his hands by posting about his problem in YOUmoz since he can at least point to it and say he was horrified in case he gets penalised for the links. According to the helpful commenters though what he can do (and what we can do in case it happens to us) include:

  • submitting a report to Google Webmasters Tools
  • posting a thread at Webmasters Central
  • create a redirect string using the browser referrer string to alert search bots of potential malicious activity – The problem with this is that it will be time consuming to do this for thousands of links!
  • email the webmasters of referring sites one by one – Again not scalable.
  • ask Rand for help – Rand actually offered to help in case the site got penalised! Nice. I guess this is one of the reasons why it pays to be a SEOmoz premium member and be an active YOUmoz contributor. ^_^

It was the people’s consensus that it is more likely that the site will not be penalised especially if it has no previous history of any black hat methods employed.

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  • Stu

    I just don’t get this paranoia….

    The search engines are not going to penalise you for links that point to your site, no matter how spammy they are.

    You have no control over who links to you, and the search engines know this. They will ignore the spammy links, for sure, but you won’t actually lose rankings.

    If this worked, I’d already have spammed all my competitors into submission,

  • Olive

    I think a good dialog by the sender is enough to know if the sender is a bot or a real person although a newbie.

  • paulette

    For me spam are potential social networks too. It is a gauge that your site is a market. Just convert it to maximize your website.