The term, Negative SEO started gaining its popularity in pretty much the same time when Penguin was first rolled out. Since then a crazy thought, “will a massy Link Gain & Lost negatively effect a search result or not?”, has been discussed among me and some of my SEO friends! Few months ago I got a project, which I believe would be perfect to put this discussion to a test in order to find out if it really works.
- Number of domains involved: 1
- Number of search terms involved: 1
- Start ranking: #12
- Domain characteristics: extremely authoritative news site
- URL characteristics: aged URL (article published in 2013) with over 500 natural links
- TLD: .com
- Content: over 750 words, proper keywords appearing in title, description and several times in the
- body, natural internal linking.
- Test Period: 15 July 2015 – 15 October 2015
Drop over 1 million backlinks with decent anchor text placement (25% exact; 25% phase; 25% brand; 25% raw URL). Decent link sources from article directories, free web 2.0 properties, social profiles, social bookmarks, wiki sites (no blog comments, no forum profiles or posts).
- 7/15 – 7/16: first blast
- 7/16 – 7/17: second blast
- 7/17 – 7/18: third blast
All links (over 3 million) are pinged through 4 major ping services.
- 7/25 – remove all links built from the all three blasts
Ping all removed links through 4 major ping services.
Few days after the first blast, the test URL rapidly gained position for the targeted query, reaching the highest position of #7. 2 days after all links were removed and the 404 URLs were pinged (7/27), the targeted URL started fluctuating between #8 and #10. 1 week later the URL dropped to #14. Currently (2 months later) the URL sits #18 – #19 and holds its position for over 2 weeks already. I don’t expect any dramatic change in the following few months.
This tactic might not work for new result, which links are still coming in
There is no control group in this experiment. For example, results around the targeted URL might receive backlinks during the experiment period.
The tactic does cost money (over 100 decent proxies, recaptcha and other captcha removal services, paid ping services etc.)