Today I received an email from the Google Search Console reporting a huge increase of 404 pages on my site. Upon investigating I found hundreds of sites linking to my pages that simply don't exist, apart from the large number this didn't surprise.
Upon investigating further I found these pages to be linking to my site using canonical links in the
<head>, for example:
<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.example.com/tag/grup-h/">, the worrying part is that I'm only aware of this situation because those canonical pages are linking to pages that do not exist, the ones that do exist will not be reported by Google or Bing.
I've done some research and found some conflicting views and unable to find anything with evidence such as a statement from Google or Bing on the issue.
This brings me to my question(s):
- Does negative SEO via canonical links work?
- How can it be detected for working urls?
- How to prevent it?
- How to recover?
It is my understanding that relevance transfers from one site to the other using canonical, all these sites are drugs, gambling and porn, obviously a malicious attack most likely someone testing some software or one of my local competitors. If this is untrue considering that canonicals have been out for over a decade why would people use this method if it didn't work? confusing.