Many companies that used unethical practices in the past to build hundreds of low value links are running out of clients, as their practices don’t work any more. Rather than changing what they do and doing it the right way, it is easier to switch their target and actually get hired by competitors to build spammy links to your site and get you penalized. They follow these same old tactics or. in some cases, due to the demand, new consultants have come in, leading to this new market purely trying to get sites penalized by Google. If you get caught by one of these lowlifes, it can destroy your organic search presence and lead to months and months of hard word trying to get rid of and disavow these links.
Why should you be concerned?
Google often kills an ant with a sledgehammer. When they find spammy link networks or groups of low quality sites that have clearly been built to simply provide links and boost strength back in the era of “the more links the better, without regard for the quality”, they penalize or “algorithmically adjust” to drop you from the top of the rankings and immediately make your traffic disappear. In the long term, this is a good thing, because they are taking away reliance on stupid, low quality, and unnatural links, but often people that weren’t intentionally breaking the rules get punished too because of a stray link here or there or a relationship with someone else who broke the rules.
Worse yet, now that everyone has seen what happens to these sites and given fact that Google can’t tell whether you built these links for your site or if someone else did it to hurt you, these shady characters are coming out of the woodwork to offer these services to get unsuspecting sites “in trouble” with Google by intentionally building shady links. A “penalty” like this can destroy your domain or at least destroy years of hard work earning legitimate links to your site.
How do you know if you have been hit?
You can tell if you get hit by a Google algorithm update if you see a sudden drop in your traffic that corresponds to a Google update, but often that is too late. You can check here to see if your drop came from an update. Often that is too late though. You should probably check on a regular basis to see what new links have been added to your site. If you see a sudden influx of links coming to your site, and you don’t know why or where they are coming from, you may be the victim of link sabotage and you need to act right away. There are a number of tools out there that can help you identify new links coming in to your site, but your Google webmaster tools will give you some of this information for free. In Google webmaster tools, go under “search traffic” and “Links to your site”. There is an area there that shows who links to you the most. If you hit more here, it will take you to another screen which will allow you to “Download Latest Links”. Take a look at this from time to time and make sure you don’t have an influx of links that don’t make sense to you.
If you need help keeping an eye on your site and don’t want to have to worry about the technicalities, we have services to do this on a regular basis for you.