Through work I’ve done for a number of clients, I’ve run across negative SEO attacks many times. What’s interesting is that much of it is clearly all the work of the same person, who’s created a series of penalized link farms that they can put links to the victim’s site on. Note that most negative SEO links are NOT going to be spotted by external tools, as they’re cloaked so that only Googlebot can see them. So, you need to download the backlinks from Google Search Console, and work off of those. But…if you feed those into most backlink analysis tools, they’ll most fly under the radar, as they’ll come back as either a 404, 500, or the site will be dead entirely (in any case, the link analysis tool will think that the link is gone).
Now, while Google claims that they’re able to spot and ignore most spammy links, the reality is that there ARE still algorithmic penalties out there, and that a whole bunch of this negative SEO person’s stuff is missed by Google, and is actually counting against the victims’ websites.
Feel free to use the disavow lists below for your own website. If you see a pattern in your own backlinks that matches one of those below, it might make sense to copy my disavow file onto the end of yours, and pre-emptively block the rest of that link farm before links to your site appear on the other sites in the link farm, and Google discovers those. Keep in mind, it doesn’t hurt anything to disavow a site that doesn’t link to you.
As I work through more and more of these, I’ll be updating the various lists, and I’ll be putting the last update date next to the link below, so you’ll know if you need to get the updated version.
Buyer beware: while I’ve been reasonably careful to NOT disavow legit sites, the way I’ve come up with these lists of thousands and thousands of domains is by doing pattern-matching in the links I analyze using Kerboo’s LinkRisk (which is an awesome tool, by the way). So there’s a chance that some innocent sites could be in my lists–if you spot any, please let me know via email (email@example.com).
Fake photo galleries
This is the latest tactic I’ve seen. Most of them (when live) start with something like “If you’re looking for images of [whatever], you’ve come to the right place.” These ones seem to go live for a few days, then get shut down completely.
- Photo galleries disavow file – last updated 13 January 2020
Scraper sites and other general sewage
These PROBABLY are ignored by Google and not hurting you. But they all suck anyways, so might as well remove them from your profile. I’m finding nearly 100% of websites have links from most of these.
- Scrapers disavow file – last updated 31 October 2019
Russian porn link farm
This one is massive. While it looks like just a few hundred domains, like the German link farm below, you’ll see hundreds of subdomains of each root domain in this disavow file. Looks computer-generated, URLs and pages stuffed with porn keywords, and sometimes porn imagery. Pretty easy to spot if you’re being attacked from this link farm…the domain names are super obvious.
- Russian porn link farm disavow file – last updated 9 October 2019
Giant German link farm
One client of mine had links from over 40,000 subdomains from this link farm. The pattern you’ll see here is subdomains where the first or first two sections of the domain name are numbers, e.g. 11.25.feuerwehr-imsbach.de.
- German link farm disavow file – last updated 8 January 2020
GA/GQ/CF/ML/TK malware link farms
These are a lot like the German TLD link farm. Often you’ll see malware on the GA, GQ, and CF sites, and sometimes the TK sites. Some of these do 302 redirects to legit sites, so you might be fooled into ignoring those links.
- .CF link farm disavow file – last updated 15 October 2019
- French link farm disavow file – last updated 17 November 2019
- .GA link farm disavow file – last updated 15 October 2019
- .GQ link farm disavow file – last updated 15 October 2019
- .ML link farm disavow file – last updated 15 October 2019
- .NL link farm disavow file – last updated 5 September 2019
- .TK link farm disavow file – last updated 15 October 2019
New .INFO link farm
New .SITE link farm
Asian cheapo link directories
This group has been around for a long time–I’m guessing it was originally built to try and sell good links. What you’ll notice is that they mostly have Asian-sounding domain names, are all super simple and ugly, slapped together quickly following just a few different templates (lots have a brick background, or a lake with a mountain), the rightmost side of the URL will have multiple words, first letter capitalized, separated by a hyphen. A huge percentage have /listing/ as the middle of the URL, but not all do. Most likely, this is one of those types that Google spots and ignores.
- Asian cheapo link directories disavow file – last updated 9 October 2019
The Globe link directories
This group has also been around for a long time–again, probably originally built to try and sell good links. I’ve only added a few recently discovered domains here. There’s a much bigger list, hundreds of domains, and I’ll continue to add those as I discover them. I haven’t actually been seeing them in profiles for about a year. Most likely, this is one of those types that Google spots and ignores.
- The Globe ancient link directories disavow file – last updated 12 September 2019