For those who havenâ€™t heard the term before, Google bombing refers to a practice that causes hundreds or thousands of links to be directed towards your site. Great news if these are from valuable websites over a long space of time, right? Unfortunately, these types of links come from unrelated websites with irrelevant and sometimes inappropriate content and they all come at once. Google doesnâ€™t appreciate sites that they think are trying to take advantage of their algorithms by link spamming and they will penalise you if they suspect this is what you are doing.
The company I work for, Trendhim, was struck with a Google bomb last year and of course, we panicked. Suddenly, websites containing pornographic content were linking towards our site in their thousands and if we didnâ€™t act fast it was going to seriously damage our search result rankings and as result, our sales.
Luckily, we acted quickly and we were able to recover. Google have taken steps to reduce the number of these kinds of attacks but I still want to share our experiences in the hope that it can help others if they ever fall victim to the same situation.
What to do
The first thing we did was report this spam activity to Google using this tool – https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/manual-action. Next, we checked the security of our site and that we hadnâ€™t been hacked or had our safety compromised in any way, shape or form.
After this, we decided to find the bad links ourselves so that we could get started on trying to get them removed as soon as possible. We used a combination of Ahrefsâ€™ and Googleâ€™s Search Consoleâ€™s tools to find out who was linking to us. Once we had identified all these links, we uploaded them to Googleâ€™s Unwanted List â€“ The Disavow Tool.
We noticed that many of the sites that had these dodgy links to us had been hacked and that the owners may not know what was happening. We reached out to these websites one by one asking if they would remove the link on their site. Luckily, many of them replied and cooperated with our wishes.
Unfortunately, the police were unable to help us. We contacted them and explained what had happened but they simply did not understand what Google bombing was or the negative impact it could possibly have on our business. The conversation with them ended with them saying there is no crime taking place and as a result, we werenâ€™t allowed to formally report it.
How to avoid it
We are unsure who ordered this Google bomb, but we suspect that it may have been one of our competitors. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do to rectify this situation, but we can continue to work on our site to make sure it is ranking as well as possible so Google know that we are trustworthy. If Google sees you in this way, it is easier to recover from a Google bomb and get your rankings back to what they were.
Of course, partake in general SEO strategies that you would normally do such as linking internally and optimising your site. Also consider working to get more external links to your site, the more reliable people talking about you, the more trustworthy Google will see you as.