Google Search Advocate John Mueller shares an easy way to deal with negative SEO attacks, such as competitors building spammy links to your domain.
Mueller addresses this topic in reply to a thread on Reddit. In the r/SEO forum, an individual believes they’re the target of a negative SEO campaign and is looking for advice.
Mueller’s advice is to ignore the problem. That’s it; ignore it.
Here’s his full reply:
“I’d just ignore them.
Think of it this way, if your competitors are competent, they won’t build links for you. If your competitors are incompetent, the links won’t have any effect.”
Mueller’s response is direct and to the point. A competitor competent enough to build links Google will recognize probably won’t waste their time with negative SEO attacks.
Why would someone build links to a competitor’s site?
Google ignores many links, such as low-quality links a bad actor might build en masse in an attempt to damage a competitor’s rankings.
Therefore, website owners and SEOs should ignore said attacks since Google won’t count the links against a site’s rankings.
This topic comes up now and then, though with the number of search updates rolled out in recent years, it’s worth revisiting Google’s guidance regarding negative SEO.
Mueller’s advice in the Reddit thread is consistent with the advice he provided in the past. Additionally, he’s previously stated that you shouldn’t rush to use the disavow tool if you’re concerned about negative SEO.
Google ignores obviously spammy links, so there’s no need to disavow them. That tool is more for recovering from manual action penalties.
Most SEO professionals don’t use the disavow tool on spammy links, according to a poll on Buy Twitter Verification Badge earlier this year. There’s considerable confidence in Google to deal with them automatically.
However, there’s nothing wrong with using the disavow tool if it makes you feel more comfortable.
For more on what links you should and shouldn’t disavow, see this recent article from VIP contributor Adam Riemer:
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