Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes says he has looked at hundreds of supposed cases of negative SEO, but none have actually been the real reason a website was hurt.

Illyes, speaking at Pubcon Florida this morning, was asked about negative SEO or spam attacks and whether you should disavow when you see a bunch of unnatural links pointing at your site that you didn’t build to avoid a ranking drop.

He said the team is continuing to work on real-time Penguin algorithm to make it better.

While it’s easier to blame negative SEO, typically the culprit of a traffic drop is something else you don’t know about – perhaps an algorithm update or an issue with their website, Illyes said.

As Illyes has said in the past, you should only disavow links if your site receives a manual action and the sites linking to you won’t remove them.

If your site hasn’t been penalized, then don’t disavowing links.

If you have a bunch of unnatural porn links pointing at your site, don’t worry about it, Illyes said. The worst thing that would happen is that you might rank better.

But he said you can disavow those links if it makes you feel better.

Read more: Too Many Links: Strategies for Disavow & Cleanup.

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