Google’s John Mueller On How to Deal with Negative SEO Attacks

Negative SEO is the task of employing Black Hat SEO on other websites to gain them penalized by Google. It can reduce the effectiveness of a website’s SEO properties by disabling or altering them.

Negative SEO tactics can be hard to deal with because some of them (like creating negative links to your websites) are beyond your control. Additionally, they can be a little tough to locate.

What to do if you are the target of a Negative SEO attack?


John Mueller (Google Search Advocate) shares a straightforward method to handle negative SEO attacks, such as competitors creating spammy links to your site. Mueller addresses this case in response to a thread on Reddit. In the r/SEO forum, an individual thinks they are the target of a negative SEO campaign and is looking for guidance. John Mueller’s suggestion is to skip the issue. That is it; ignore it. 

Here is his complete response:

“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 answer is straightforward and to the point. A competitor competent sufficiently to build links, Google will realize probably will not destroy their time with negative SEO attacks. Google ignores numerous links, such as low-quality links a bad actor might create en masse in an attempt to hurt a competitor’s website rankings. 

Therefore, site owners and SEOs should bypass said attacks since Google will not count the links against a website’s rankings. This case comes up now and then, though, with the number of search updates rolled out in recent years, it is worth reviewing Google’s advice about negative SEO.

John Mueller’s guidance in the Reddit thread is consistent with the suggestion he provided in the past. Also, he previously said that you should not rush to use the disavow tool if you are concerned regarding negative SEO. Google disregards spammy backlinks, so there is no necessity to disavow them. Disavow tool is more for retrieving from manual action penalties.

Many SEO experts do not use the disavow tool on spammy backlinks, according to a poll on Twitter before this year. There is significant faith in Google to negotiate with them automatically. Regardless, there is nothing inaccurate with using the disavow tool if it drives you to feel more relaxed.


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