Oh Look, We're Under Attack! Negative SEO Alive & Well in Malaysia

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The Penguin on Negative SEO

So, CLOUDROCK has been the target of an attempted Negative SEO attack. Interesting, yes? Let me quickly tell you the story.

We have not been doing much link building in the last few months and were trying to attract them organically.

So I was quite surprised to see our rankings slowly improving in the SERPs (yes, improving). Has my content suddenly gotten so good that people started linking to it (well, one can hope)?

I fired up Ahrefs to take a closer look at our website’s backlink history.

Negative SEO in Malaysia

Very strange.

So I took a quick look at our Google Webmaster Tools account and found a number of new domains. There were a lot of foreign domains linking back to our site. First warning sign.

On closer inspection, many of the links looked like these:

Proof of Negative SEO Attack

The kind of links that you typically get when you sign up for SEO Packages. And look at the comment directly before ours.

Not the best of neighbourhoods to be hanging around in.

What is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is the process of causing harm to a site’s or page’s ranking in the SERPs. This is done by using tactics that is expressly forbidden by Google as per their Webmaster Guidelines and includes low quality link building.

I like to think that people are mostly good and keep themselves busy with productive work; adding value to whatever field they choose to apply themselves in.

But of course, that’s not always the case and I shouldn’t be surprised that things like this happen.

Not surprised, but disappointed nonetheless.

One of the great things about SEO is its community. Take a look at those people at Moz and other active communities. You will find knowledgeable SEO specialists eager to share their expertise with the world, when they have no financial motivation to do so (most of the SEO articles you see are contributed).

Rand Fishkin, Neil Patel and Jason Acidre come to mind (just discovered the latter’s blog; very insightful and in depth). They write fantastic articles week in and week out.

Spreading significant knowledge is indeed a worthwhile goal, and should not only be pursued by academics.

Competition is something we love (should check out our futsal sessions), but it should be spirited, intense and friendly, rather than just outright dirty.

Beat us with an insanely user-friendly web design and you-can’t-help-but-share-it content. We’ll buy you a drink and come right back snapping on your heels the very next day.

Wouldn’t that make it more fun?

Should You Really Worry About Negative SEO in Malaysia?

There has been some debate about the effectiveness of negative SEO in the past.

But yes, in certain circumstances it can harm a website. If you have no branding signals, no trust signals and have none of the elements of a website that Google trusts, then you’re quite likely susceptible to an attack by an unethical competitor (although we haven’t had many cases of negative SEO in Malaysia so far).

On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to harm a major brand such as Amazon or Apple.

The attack hasn’t affected our search traffic so I’m not losing sleep.

To the company doing negative SEO on our site

I know that things have changed in the last few years and you’re having a hard time keeping up with it. I’ve been there. But if you handle change like my cat handles water, then SEO might not be the right field for you anyway.

Today, you’ve made our intern very sad. On the bright side, at least she’s more familiar with Majestic SEO and Google’s Disavow Link Tool now.

And hey, since you’ve paid good money for Scrapebox, here are some white hat ways to use it.

And no, don’t worry.

My guys are not going to waste any time doing negative SEO to you too. It’s Friday, go back to your wife and kids and have a great weekend.