Negative SEO & Anonymous

Negative SEO & Anonymous

The community was in a state of shock when it hit headlines for mass Negative SEO Campaigns and how 2 people from a very hated (and loved) Forum managed to destroy a long working SEO campaign for 1 of the top experts in SEO – Wiping his site from the 1st page with over 1,000,000 spam blog comment backlinks, in turn seriously hurting his business.

How did this originate? from a tweet he made to Google..

Now, we’ve seen the new disavow tool and how we can clean up Negative SEO – but truly, can we?

The answer is simple: NO.

See, building spam backlinks is all good and in no way illegal but there’s a darker side to this, a side which no 1 has seemed to bring up or even mention. I’ll be the 1st to come from the shadowy corner of an internet chat room which de-indexed an entire Government website in a week.

Where does Anonymous join the fray?

So, most of you will be familiar with the Online “Hacktivist” Group – Anonymous. They’re a cyber army of apparently – Over 9,000 which attack Government websites, News corporations and generally cause a rather big nuisance on the web either for “epic lulz” or for a more political intent.

Anonymous had a specific “operation” – They DDoS’d (using multiple computers or server to request information from a server) a Government website, crashing it for around 10 days in total. I first saw this in an internet chat room where Anonymous and various other geeks of the internet hang out to talk about topics generally towards C# programming. For some reason a member of the group Anonymous decided to spam the chat with “ is now.. GONE” – He was quickly banned but when i visited said site, it seemed to be completely offline –

The website was down for around 10 days, as you can imagine having it down for that amount of time takes a serious toll on any website’s traffic and ranking (especially as site speed is so important).

Before the Great Battle –

Before the attack, the website was ranking #1 for a keyword and even had a 7 SERP page result:


As you can see the website’s got some great ranking with a 7 SERP result, ranking #1 for 164,000,000 different results and is dominating it’s search results page for the keywords it’s going for.

Once the site had been offline for 10 days and Anonymous had their lulz and had won their so called “Battle” – They decided enough was enough and stopped the attack.

This attack in particular was towards the end of a Month and by the seems of it close to a new crawl (according to MajesticSEO their last crawl was a month before) when both Google & Majestic had re-crawled the site, it had no Title on Majestic –

The MAIN thing it didn’t have, was it was no longer ranking in the SERPs and almost all pages had been de-indexed from Google, it was still displaying in Bing & Yahoo! As well as after a month the Alexa rank dropped from top 1,000,000 to 7,000,000 – A HUGE drop in Traffic and the Keyword search queries almost completely changed for the site.

The After Effect –

The rankings after 10 days of being completely offline changed.. a LOT! –

It took around 1 – 2 months to see the site back in action, but how does Google stop your site from getting de-indexed when it’s offline?

The scariest thing is, it cannot rank a site that doesn’t exist.

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So, now I’ve hid behind the Couch How can I stop this?

There’s a number of ways to protect against DDoS – Inevitably, you can’t really – If they have a big enough array of Infected computers or Servers they can crash any site (look at the attacks against HSBC, Papa Johns, HostGater, GoDaddy, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard and other huge corporations that have been the target of various DDoS Attacks) – Saying that, it’s very unlikely 1 of your competitors is going to build a botnet (Infected computers used to perform various attacks or tasks for a Malicious user).

I would include the numerous methods that you have to PAY for, but I’m a much bigger fan of free services and I’m sure you guys don’t want to be coming to SEOmoz for paid methods when your already (more then likely) paying for Pro every month.

CloudFlare –

This is a free “Reverse Proxy” which uses their servers to hide your real website’s IP address. It’s totally free with the option of a $20/Month fee to upgrade your site to Pro – Offering an SSL cert. etc.. I’d say this is your best and most simple option of DDoS Protection as it just hides your old IP address, it also increases site speed and prevents malicious users from accessing your site (you can whitelist IP addresses for crawling/scanning purposes)

Charles Floate
I'm a UK based Search Engine Optimisation and Search Marketing Consultant. With over 5 years in the Search Industry, I'm hoping to build up God of SEO as a Dedicated Internet Marketing Blog with tons of Information for the Community to engage with.
Charles Floate
Charles Floate
Charles Floate

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