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I've recently checked into my Google Webmasters account and found that I have several thousand links from .ru domains. Almost half of all links from one domain.

I have never hired anyone for link building (or done any myself to be honest), so I'm not sure where these have come from.

All of my content is in English, and targeted to the United States.

I'm concerned that this is giving Google a negative signal on my "link profile".

First question: Do you think that these links are harming my site's search results?

Another question: could this be a negative link campaign from a competitor?

Thanks for your help!

  • There are a lot of Russian spam sites that are aimed at Russian search engines. Most of the time, these are temporary so there really will not be a negative impact. Still, it can be a concern. It is not advised to disavow sites too quickly. That too can have a negative impact. – closetnoc Feb 19 '18 at 21:40
  • Is there any way to tell if these links are temporary? I've seen that the "main" domain has put up about 2,000 more links in the past few days. – Ethan Peyton Feb 19 '18 at 22:10
  • I used to study hacker activities including sites like what I described. Much of what I did was coded so that it was automated. The pattern was one domain would exist for a few months while many others would last about one month. You could see patterns in the whois registration information, some obvious such as same names, others not so obviously such as registration dates and times. Otherwise, I am not sure what the patters are today. You will have to become a detective. Perhaps whois.domaintools.com can help with whois. – closetnoc Feb 20 '18 at 0:08
  • You may want to explore using something like wget to safely visit the pages that link to yours. Do not use a JavaScript enabled browser. You may find that the pages do not actually have links to your site today. Some of these sites would create links for just a few hours, a day, or just for a search engine. You may find a pattern where these links come and go very fast on domains that will be gone soon. That was the common pattern a couple of years ago. We used to get questions like yours quite often. Some spammers apparently did not get the memo to move on and do something else. Cheers!! – closetnoc Feb 20 '18 at 0:14
  • Thank you for your help! I didn't realize I was going to need to be a detective... – Ethan Peyton Feb 20 '18 at 22:35
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If you believe that you are receiving links that can hurt your site, you will want to disavow them.

You can disavow links here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main

There have been issues of competitors trying to derank other websites by setting spammy link campaigns targeting that site. The simplest way to combat this is with the disavow tool.

Before disavowing, I advise that you analyze the links closely and determine for yourself if you think they are spammy or detrimental to your site. There are a lot of valid Russian websites on the internet that may be linking to you. And there are also many Russian bot campaigns on the web that will perform malicious activity and negative link campaigns as well.

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