JKI Is Under Attack – Negative SEO – Your Help is Needed!
Originally posted on November 4, 2012 @ 2:41 AM
Since the beginning of JKI, we've had numerous site-related problems – from the usual headaches related to running a site with growing traffic levels (server issues, software issues, etc.) – to other, less run-of-the-mill problems. Some of these could be chalked up to glitches and user error (ours, not yours). A few have been malicious, including attempts to hack the site. There have even been a few instances where it appeared bad code injections had taken place, and we had to do some serious damage control.
There have been many instances when this one site was having problems while other sites on the same server, running the same software in similar configuration, were not. Coincidence? Once – maybe. Twice – probably not. Three times – no way.
We've even had a few of the infamous “denial of service” attacks, though fortunately not in a big way.
Add to this the fact that John has been personally threatened on more than one occasion, and you could say that it's never a dull moment around here.
Fortunately, in the “big picture,” John has been told by several of his sources that he is being looked after, and we seriously hope that's the case – because pulling the dragon by his tail (almost literally) is sure to anger the dragon! We do know that, since the very early days of this site back in 2011, that John has been upsetting various groups and institutions. He was even told by one of his “deep throat” sources that had he begun JKI a few years earlier, he would simply have been “removed.” How's that for pucker factor?
Of course, dealing with upset and unhappy people is nothing new for John. It was what his researches and assessments used to do in the bad old days of his work in military aerospace. The difference was that back then, the worst they could do was fire him. Not that they did, what with John's irritating record of being right. But the stakes are much higher these days – for John, if not for everybody.
Yesterday, poor John just about came unglued because of a series of threats he received from a troll. As regular readers of his blog know, John gets irate comments every day. This is normal for any kind of controversial site.
Some are upset by what John has to say. Others are convinced he is simply a con man trying to use the “UFO thing” to crassly “make money” for himself from a “gullible public.” * More than a few find it easier to simply dismiss him as cracked. Quite a number of the more insulting and nasty comments never see the light of day, because they add nothing to the discussions on the site and we trash them.
But every once in a while, we get a troll who is potentially dangerous – to the site, or John, or both.
Shirley Aslop (if that's her real name) is one of them. She claims to be an “SEO”. The abbreviation stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” It's gone from being a term describing the process of generating more organic search traffic to a noun. SEO specialists are now going by the same term as what they do. I guess when you're talking about a person, SEO means “Search Engine Optimizer,” though it doesn't seem like either the industry or the public has thought that through.
But I digress. Moving on…
Most SEO work is done with the intent of improving a site's rankings in Google. However, there is an arcane, perfidious, back-alley version of the trade known as “negative SEO.” In it, you build and point thousands of poor quality links from questionable “neighborhoods” at a site. The idea is to make Google think the site in question is a junk site, due to the fact that so much junk is pointing at it.
In practice, Google has very strong “negative SEO” protections in it's site-ranking algorithm. If it didn't, there would be nothing less than a massive negative SEO war out there – an unseen (by the public) but none-the-less vicious apocalypse of mutual site destruction raging 24/7/365. It would be a never-ending race to the bottom of an abyss with no bottom! Fortunately, as I said, Google has built protections into it's algorithm so that innocent site owners don't find their sites nuked by unscrupulous competition without ever knowing what hit them.
Which leads us back to Shirley Alsop. She is not one of John's biggest fans, to put it mildly. In fact, I think you could call her a hater. She's been pretty nasty to John, and getting nastier by the minute. Here is what she sent JK recently:
“We operate an SEO website and we will post 80000 negative backlinks to your site; rating this bs down and excluding it from Google Search. Watch out John, you’ll soon be history!!!”
The tens of thousands of bad backlinks “to” JKI spell an attempt to destroy our hard-won rankings and credibility. A few days later, she told John her negative SEO compaign had begun. Here's what she sent today:
“John by now we have reached 16742 backlinks pointing to your site all based on Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese blogs about LV Handbags and Fake Vertu phones.. we keep 5 computers running overnight just for your cause. We also increased the total goal from 80000 to 275 000, plus giving you 20 additional wiki linkwheels which will generate links over the coming 6 month. You dont need to thank us John, you are very welcome”
She's only quasi-literate, and the odds are that she's full of horse-hockey and the threat is an empty one. But it's also possible it's actually happening. In which case, it is also possible – though unlikely – that she could actually do us harm. We won't know for a while. Google doesn't tell us everything, and it doesn't tell us as quickly as we would like.
This is where YOU come in!
We'd like to enlist you in the cause of helping John counteract this new threat. A side-benefit of your help will be that John's site will be even more successful, and even harder to “f” with in the future! In effect, your help will actually “harden” JKI as a target – to use a military term not usually associated with websites.
These days, Google cares far more about “social signals” – Facebook Likes and Shares, Google +1s, Tweets, Stumbles, Diggs, etc. – than backlinks. Social signals are far harder to fake than backlinks – and true virality cannot be faked – which is why Google has come to rely on social signals as the primary indicators of whether a site has good content or not. We've been blessed here at JKI that so many of you have used social media to spread the world about John's work to this point. With your continued help, we can completely counteract any effect good ol' Shirley's bad backlinks might have on us.
Here's what, in a word, we need you to do:
Share John's posts to your friends on Facebook, Google, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc. Share using more than one! Bookmark with Delicious or other online bookmarking sites. Email your friends, too. Believe it or not, Google even sees all those links in emails! You can use the buttons at the top and the bottom of posts just like this one. In fact, share this post far and wide too.
Now, there's a good chance that this Shirley person is just a particularly unhinged nut case. Even if she is “an SEO,” the odds are that what she says she is going to do will have little or no impact on JKI. If, by some chance there is an impact, there are steps we can take with Google to correct the damage (though those are not simple and take time).
But it would be really nice if any possible impact of her negative SEO was completely negated by YOUR positive social shares!
Finally, if you want to tell ol' Shirley what YOU think of her, feel free to drop her a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your attention on this matter, and any help you can provide.
— Karl, the Webmaster
* To those folks, I say this: if John wanted to con people into giving him money, I can think of any number of schemes that would be FAR more lucrative with FAR LESS effort and aggravation. If John is a con man, he needs to be sent back to crime school for Remedial Malfeasance 101. If he (and I) are con men, we are particularly bad at it. Our paltry JKI bank balance attests to that.