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302 Redirects continues to be an issue

 6:23 pm on Feb 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

recent related threads:

It is now 100% certain that any site can destroy low to midrange pagerank sites by causing googlebot to snap up a 302 redirect via scripts such as php, asp and cgi etc supported by an unseen randomly generated meta refresh page pointing to an unsuspecting site. The encroaching site in many cases actually write your websites location URL with a 302 redirect inside their server. This is flagrant violation of copyright and manipulation of search engine robots and geared to exploit and destroy websites and to artificially inflate ranking of the offending sites.

Many unethical webmasters and site owners are already creating thousands of TEMPLATED (ready to go) SKYSCRAPER sites fed by affiliate companies immense databases. These companies that have your website info within their databases feed your page snippets, without your permission, to vast numbers of the skyscraper sites. A carefully adjusted variant php based redirection script that causes a 302 redirect to your site, and included in the script an affiliate click checker, goes to work. What is very sneaky is the randomly generated meta refresh page that can only be detected via the use of a good header interrogation tool.

Googlebot and MSMBOT follow these php scripts to either an internal sub-domain containing the 302 redirect or serverside and “BANG” down goes your site if it has a pagerank below the offending site. Your index page is crippled because googlebot and msnbot now consider your home page at best a supplemental page of the offending site. The offending sites URL that contains your URL is indexed as belonging to the offending site. The offending site knows that google does not reveal all links pointing to your site, takes a couple of months to update, and thus an INURL:YOURSITE.COM will not be of much help to trace for a long time. Note that these scripts apply your URL mostly stripped or without the WWW. Making detection harder. This also causes googlebot to generate another URL listing for your site that can be seen as duplicate content. A 301 redirect resolves at least the short URL problem so aleviating google from deciding which of the two URL's of your site to index higher, more often the higher linked pagerank.

Your only hope is that your pagerank is higher than the offending site. This alone is no guarantee because the offending site would have targeted many higher pagerank sites within its system on the off chance that it strips at least one of the targets. This is further applied by hundreds of other hidden 301 permanent redirects to pagerank 7 or above sites, again in the hope of stripping a high pagerank site. This would then empower their scripts to highjack more efficiently. Sadly supposedly ethical big name affiliates are involved in this scam, they know it is going on and google adwords is probably the main target of revenue. Though I am sure only google do not approve of their adsense program to be used in such manner.

Many such offending sites have no e-mail contact and hidden WHOIS and no telephone number. Even if you were to contact them, you will find in most cases that the owner or webmaster cannot remove your links at their site because the feeds are by affiliate databases.

There is no point in contacting GOOGLE or MSN because this problem has been around for at least 9 months, only now it is escalating at an alarming rate. All pagerank sites of 5 or below are susceptible, if your site is 3 or 4 then be very alarmed. A skyscraper site only need create child page linking to get pagerank 4 or 5 without the need to strip other sites.

Caution, trying to exclude via robots text will not help because these scripts are nearly able to convert daily.

Trying to remove a link through google that looks like
new.searc**verywhere.co.uk/goto.php?path=yoursite.com%2F will result in your entire website being removed from google’s index for an indefinite period time, at least 90 days and you cannot get re-indexed within this timeline.

I am working on an automated 302 REBOUND SCRIPT to trace and counteract an offending site. This script will spider and detect all pages including sub-domains within an offending site and blast all of its pages, including dynamic pages with a 302 or 301 redirect. Hopefully it will detect the feeding database and blast it with as many 302 redirects as it contains URLS. So in essence a programme in perpetual motion creating millions of 302 redirects so long as it stays on. As every page is a unique URL, the script will hopefully continue to create and bombard a site that generates dynamically generated pages that possesses php, asp, cigi redirecting scripts. A SKYSCRAPER site that is fed can have its server totally occupied by a single efficient spider that continually requests pages in split seconds continually throughout the day and week.

If the repeatedly spidered site is depleted of its bandwidth, it may then be possible to remove it via googles URL removal tool. You only need a few seconds of 404 or a 403 regarding the offending site for google’s url console to detect what it needs. Either the site or the damaging link.

I hope I have been informative and to help anybody that has a hijacked site who’s natural revenue has been unfairly treated. Also note that your site may never gain its rank even after the removal of the offending links. Talking to offending site owners often result in their denial that they are causing problems and say that they are only counting outbound clicks. And they seam reluctant to remove your links....Yeah, pull the other one.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 9:49 pm (utc) on Mar. 16, 2005]



 6:54 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK. Agreed that Google MUST fix this.

In the meantime, is there ANY way do disallow 302 redirected
traffic, using htaccess rules or whatever, to disallow traffic
to my site from a 302 temporary redirect?

I'm not asking if its smart (probably dumb for most sites)
but just whether there is a way or not. -Larry


 7:03 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just read every post and have some questions,

1) If I were currently in the google adwords program and signed up under www.mysite.com name, how in the world could google turn around and de-index my site because my site no longer exists? On one hand google is paying out to an adwords account under the website www.mysite.com and on the other hand deleting www.mysite.com from their index? That makes no sense. Same goes for adsense, I don't understand how this would be possible. If you are paying google to sell ads leading to your site how could they de-index you?

2) Even though it would split your pagerank in half between www.mysite.com and mysite.com, couldn't you just have all queries to www.mysite.com be 302'ed to mysite.com and all queries to mysite.com be 302'ed to www.mysite.com. Wouldn't this override the original hijackers 302 and tell google that your new 302 is the actual address that people are looking for? Will this solution cause you to have problems with msn or yahoo?


 7:09 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

is there ANY way do disallow 302 redirected traffic

No, not really, no way to know it's a 302 right off......

The 302 code is returned from their server to your browser which then redirects to your site

You don't have any clue if it's a redirect except MAYBE using the referer to see where the click originated from, and you could block the referer one at a time as you catch them.

If this 302 thing really does exist, Google has the dumbest collection of PHDs on the planet. I still think it's 302 hysteria, but then again I have stock in drug companies that make anti-psychotics so enjoy.


 7:30 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I still think it's 302 hysteria, but then again I have stock in drug companies that make anti-psychotics so enjoy.

One of my sites completely vanished from the serps right when a 302 to my homepage got indexed as my site so I'm fairly convinced. My DMOZ PageRank went from 3 to 1 with the same update.

It could have been caused by other factors as I wasn't watching the site very closely at the time. Still PR1 with nearly 400 backlinks at the time doesn't sound right.

I'm implementing the steps posted by DaveAtIFG in hopes of returning in a few months.

I'll take some of those anti-psychotics please :)


 8:07 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

What I find interesting is that my main site had identical #1 rankings in both Yahoo and Google for the exact same term for years. Now the site remains #1 in Yahoo, but in the last two weeks page after page in Google has followed a similar path of:

No spidering--> Lowered ranking--> URL-only Listing--> Gray-bar--> Gone. Some pages even go to a "non-www" listing before they're dropped.

The question I have is WHY is Google sticking with their present system of handling 302s --what's the benefit to them? For some REASON Google has made a conscience decision to stick with their current method --why? What is it that we aren't seeing.

And before the chorus gets started --Google isn't "evil" and Google isn't "stupid."<G> But, for some specific reason, Google sees something of value in this mess that we aren't seeing --what is it?


 8:12 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

There should be a new Server Header Response.

HTTP/1.1 ‘69’ Not Real - Fake Referrer

, or something like that but not by default.

I think this is the least amount of work from both ends SE and SEO.

BTW - my exact problem as I am starting to look in to it.

This will give webmaster more pool in the argument, If any.

As a site owners we should have more say in what sounds like “Fire in the Hall”.

P.S. japanese - thank you.


 8:15 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

When I started a thread in November about this, I was unsure of the real extent of this problem. But now there are two simulatenous threads with 100+ posts. Plus, numerous threads stemming back to January 2004 and even earlier. Among those threads:

[webmasterworld.com...] (Jan 2004)

Judging from the number of threads/posts and the number of times this topic has made front page news at Webmasterworld, it is clear the problem is enormous. Google certainly knows of the problem, and it is growing to affect thousands of great content pages.


 8:24 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Judging from the number of threads/posts and the number of times this topic has made front page news at Webmasterworld, it is clear the problem is enormous. Google certainly knows of the problem, and it is growing to affect thousands of great content pages.

Print up the t-shirts and protest signs, call the news crews, and we'll all show up in Mountain View next monday morning and protest with "302 DOES EVIL", watch them squirm.


 8:35 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Can you imagine, only app. 450 "url" pages for "googlejacking" in G! Not much for a one-year old master issue. Another remark, "googlejacking" is not even in their dictionary. "Did you mean Googlewacking?" :)

Luckily, Yahoo got it right.
Their suggestion is "Did you mean google jacking?"
Around 43 400 results in G and 73 700 results in Y


 8:48 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

To check whether there are false "pages" from your site in Google index, use:


or, if you use a lot of 3rd level subdomains,


Good also for demonstration, there are plenty from


go to 2nd, 3rd ... 10th pages of search results and the "pages" will start to appear that are nothing more than page clones caused by the 302-redirect problem this thread is all about.

If you find one for your site, it does not necessarily mean that someone is stealing Google rankings from you, and as consquence, potential Google traffic. But it may. Better start from post 1 of this thread and don't miss post #54. Try to understand what goes on and then decide for yourself.


# edited some wording - R


 9:46 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a few redirects pointing to my site but I don't think they are affecting my SERP at all
One from Amray and one from About.

I wonder - I use <base href="this absolute url"> in all my page headers. May that could be some kind of armour.


 10:35 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

thanks Incredibill:

"The 302 code is returned from their server to your browser which
then redirects to your site. You don't have any clue if it's a redirect."
I was afraid of that.

Another post gives a ray of hope, (sorry, forgot who wrote it)
.. the post that said to use absolute addressing for all internal links and to
use htaccess to redirect all non-www URLs to the www kind. (or vice versa)

I'm doing both now. To the best of my knowledge, 302 creeps have done
no real damage. Those who do are way at the bottom of the serps for
my main search terms. I hope that's why. -Larry


 11:02 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

this may sound VERY ridiculous, and we'll save some obvious moral issues for later, but...

what would be the results of having 10,000 websites from as many webmasters put a 302 redirect pointing to one(or several) big sites?

would _that_ get anyone's attention?

just sharing a thought...


 11:18 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

nice work timchuma


 12:05 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

why this isn't going anywhere:

"dear editor,
google does this and that with 302s..."

editor calls G's PR team to see:
"oh no, those guys don't know what they're talking about. Rankings are not affected at all..."

That's it. Unless you can prove it, it's not going anywhere. With so many other penalty possibilities you can't prove anything.


 12:19 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Unless you can prove it, it's not going anywhere. With so many other penalty possibilities you can't prove anything

I believe you could be right Walkman

IMHO G is already working on it (and has been since Allegra) hence all the DC activity.

All we can do is try and speed up the process by making a bit of noise ;o)



 12:22 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

"oh no, those guys don't know what they're talking about. Rankings are not affected at all..."

Sounds like the email I received from Google on this issue! Google acting like there is no penalty on my sites that were GoogleJacked, duplicated, and penalized.

Something has got to be done and I think a press release would be the best way to go or a good PR optimized Blog that reporters tune into... Reporters seem to be reading lots of blogs :)


 12:34 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hmm a blog thread, well I will guess we all have some other sites with PR, if we all linked to the blog for as long as it takes and the site is optimized, which we all can come with our support, I think we will have a good site.


 12:55 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Someone should start a comprehensive website about this topic. It is really confusing and needs to be explained in one way for neophytes and in another way for techies and get a real campaign going. We know many reporters are watching WW and especially highlighted threads. Why haven't they touched this? I suspect because they don't know how to explain it to a neophyte.


 1:00 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

here's what i dont get:
what does the hijacker get from hijacking my page?
he obviously doesn't get the traffic, since whenever a visotor searches for something, and the hikacker's page shows on the serps, and the visitor clicks on this hijacked page- (the page that 302s to my page)- the visitor will be redirected to my site.

the only thing i can think of is that this is a way for the hijacker to boot my site off the index- but it doesn't make so much sense, because i see hijackers in completely different areas hijacking certain sites.

any ideas?


 1:02 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Flex - they get value and PR


 1:06 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I saw hundred of pages from the Yahoo directory affected by this problem: no title, no description.

It seems that we are not alone!


 1:07 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

zeus, im not sure what you mean-

what kind of value? definitely not clicks. hell, the page isnt even counted as their page- ie, if you do site:hijacker you won't even see the hijacked pages in it.

regarding pr: let's say (even though it sounds far-fetched to me) that they get the pr of the hijacked page. what value does it give to them? the page doesn't belong to them, they can't monetize on it's pr or value- unless they'd stopped the 302 and set up a regular page instead.

can you shed more light?


 1:11 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have to say: i dont believe in theory of hijackers.

this is a HUGE BUG that google ever had.
I just got an adwords email about an Ad Issue(s): Destination URL Not Working!

The URL is not working because it is not in the index anymore!


 1:19 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

and I have to say you're completely wrong. If this works, why wouldn't your nasty competitor link to you to knock your site off the top 50?

People kill other people for a few hundred dollars, linking with a 302 is perfectly legal.
"I have to say: i dont believe in theory of hijackers. "


 1:20 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Unless you can prove it, it's not going anywhere. With so many other penalty possibilities you can't prove anything.

I think the proof would be when a unique site name is searched for. If the site is in the index, there is no logical or relevant reason why it shouldn't appear #1 for its own name. Yet many are buried, listed under scraper sites and sites that mention the site searched for. There is no logical reason for this, other than Google is broken.

I can't think of any scenario where a site that MENTIONS another would have more relevance than the actual site. Even if a small hobby site named handmadebluewidgets.com was mentioned on CNN, a search for handmade blue widgets should still return the site itself, not CNN.

Just my opinion, I suppose everyone has a different expectation of what's relevant and what's not, but when I search for a site by name I expect to find that site, not sites that mention it.


 1:28 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

The question I have is WHY is Google sticking with their present system of handling 302s
Personally, I don't see any value in a 302 redirect and I think the HTTP spec is flawed, but there may be some legitimate uses that I simply haven't encountered. Technically speaking, www.example.com is a subdomain of example.com, and Google is simply indexing both domains. When you register example.com, you are free to use either. It appears Google is unwilling to assume and associate both versions with the same site, to Google, two unique domains = two unique sites.

If webmasters don't take steps to control BOTH as I suggested earlier, they have left the door open for hijackers.


 1:32 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I will try, I my case I even had the hijacker(It was a script link) replacing my site when searched mydomain.com in google, it was the homepage that replaced it, I lost my PR to the other site fully. Also remember not all are (hijackers) most are just bad linking, so still its ONLY google to blame


 1:38 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

If a site was under a penalty not showing in the results in google and a site not in a penalty 302'd to a penalised site they get the content?


 1:39 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

<<If webmasters don't take steps to control BOTH as I suggested...>>

I changed my htaccess just as soon as I saw your message. However, from what I'm seeing in the serps, it may be too late for my particular site.

I am truly amazed at how fast a 10,000+ page site can be brought down.

And I have to say that this appears to be the first time in history that one could say that Yahoo is more technically advanced than Google. I don't see ANY evidence of this problem anywhere in Yahoo.


 2:05 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK folks;

I need a "Joe Public" description of the problem.

I'm an experienced webmaster and seo, and although I understand this thread, I'm not able to explain this problem to my employees (much less my wife) at this point.

I would also like to submit it to cnet, drudgereport, other threads, etc, but again, would anyone understand the nature of the problem?

Can anyone summerize this in layman's terms, maybe with some examples?

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