As soon as an internet marketer learns about bad links vs good links, it’s easy to see how it could be used in an aggressive manner.

Since Google routinely penalizes poor or “black hat” link building practices, how hard would it be for a competitor to get your own site penalized? In theory, all they’d have to do is spam your site with hundreds (or thousands) of low-quality, spam links. Then the Google bots would visit your site, see you’ve been using “manipulative link building practices” and penalize your website.

Talk about a win for your competitor.

And with Google Penguin, this problem seems even scarier. Penguin aggressively punishes bad link building practices. So if an SEO could get your site penalized before, wouldn’t it be even easier now?

Here’s the good news: aggressive SEO attacks are very rare.

But because they’re easy in theory, many SEO’s jump to incorrect conclusions if they see their site lose rankings. Wake up one morning to find your site’s not on page #1 anymore? Must be a competitor spamming your website! Bad links in an otherwise impeccable link portfolio? Damn competitors!

The reality is negative SEO attacks are so rare, you should almost never consider them to be the cause of your SEO problems. Yes, they do happen. However, they take a very experienced SEO to pull them off. And an SEO with this level of knowledge is probably spending their time doing something other than spamming their competitors.

But who knows? It can happen.

Is an aggressive SEO attack coming your way?

Google recently announced they’re trying very hard to distinguish bad links from aggressive attacks. How do they do this? It’s a combination of different things. But they look for red flags – not just to see if you’re building spammy links, but if someone else is spamming your site with links.

If you’ve run a predominantly white-hat SEO campaign, then all of a sudden your site gets flooded with thousands of spammy links, Google knows this isn’t natural. As a result, they’ll look into it closely. 

When this type of thing happens, instead of penalizing the affected site, they’ll simply devalue those things. So if a competitor spams your site with thousands of cheap links, Google will go in and remove the authority from all of those links.

And since most internet marketers and online business owners use white-hat SEO techniques, the odds of an aggressive attack sneaking in under the radar are relatively low. It’s definitely not something your average SEO competitor will wake up and be able to do.

If you’ve noticed a drop in rankings or suspicious links flooding your profile, realize that it’s very likely not an aggressive attack. It’s much more likely your SEO team’s been building bad links or you made a mistake when doing link building yourself. So before jumping to conclusions, check your own work.

After making sure it has nothing to do with you, monitor the incoming links. An attack will happen relatively quickly. That’s the whole point – to flood your site with spammy links that Google will notice in a heartbeat. 

Even if you are subject to an aggressive SEO attack, the results will—in almost all cases—be temporary. 

But what if you’ve used black hat techniques to rank your site before, and now a competitor decides to spam your site? In that case, you may be unable to avoid penalization of some sort. However, you were likely going to get penalized regardless.

If you have a white-hat link profile, on the other hand, you will be protecting yourself from negative SEO attacks. Because as soon as Google sees something amiss, they’ll devalue the spammy links. They stick out like a sore thumb. The best defense is a good, white hat offense. 

Want More SEO Tips?

If you’d like more SEO tips, fill out the form below to sign up for our mailing list. No, we won’t spam you. We’ll send you the latest and greatest SEO tips, along with our free “New SEO” course.

If you’d prefer social media, no problem. Simply head over to our Facebook page and give us a “like.”

Lastly, if you’re wondering why your site isn’t on page #1, we’d definitely recommend using our free on-page SEO analysis tool. It’ll let you know if there are any glaring errors in your on-page SEO. And, if there are, it will tell you how you can fix them.

If you liked this article, you may also enjoy:

The Google Penguin Update: Bye Bye Blackhat?

An Update on Penguin

Has Penguin Gone Crazy?

Cutting Through the Noise and Preventing a Penguin Panic