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How to Remove Hijacker Page Using Google Removal Tool
8,058,044,651 page indexed (now minus 1)
Idaho




msg:756514
 6:19 pm on Mar 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Continued from: [webmasterworld.com...]


With the help of posts from crobb305 and others, I was able to remove a hijacker's page from the Google index.

My site was doing very well in the SERPs. For over 2 years it had been on the first page for a competitive term (1.2 million listings). Then during the first week in January my site disappeared and traffic tanked for no obvious reason.

When searching for "site:www.mydomain.com" I noticed that my index page often wasn't listed or it appeared on about page 3 or 4 of the results after all my supplimental pages.

A search for "allinurl:mysite.com" often didn't show my index page at all but instead showed somebody else's domain (located in Turkey). When I clicked on this link, my site came up. When I clicked on the cached version of the site, it showed a very old cache of the page. This same site also showed up after all my results when doing a "site:www.mydomain.com"

Using a header checker tool on the site's URL I was able to see it was using a 302 link to my site.

Last night after reading some posts by crobb305 and others I went to Google.com and clicked on "About Google." Then I clicked on "Webmaster Info." Then I clicked on "I need my site information removed." Then I clicked on "remove individual pages." Where I found instructions on how to remove the page.

(Here's the exact page where I ended up. If mod needs to remove then snip away:) [google.com...]

I then clicked on the "urgent" link.

Then:
1. I signed up for an account with Google and replied back to them from an email they sent me;
2. I added the "noindex" meta tag according to their instructions and uploaded it to my site;
3. Using the instructions to remove a single page from the Google index, I added the hijacker's URL that was pointing to my site. (copy and paste from the result found on "allinurl" search)

This didn't work the first time because I had to remove a space from the url to get it to work.

4. I got a message back saying that the request would be taken care of within 24 hours. The URL that I entered showed on the uppper right hand part of the screen saying "removal of (hijacker's url)pending."
5. I then removed the "noindex" meta tag from my page and re-uploaded it to my site.

This morning the google account still shows the url removal as "pending" but when I do "site:" and "allinurl" searches the offending URL is gone and my index URL is back.

Conclusions and Speculations:
At some point last September, Google cached the hijack page's url pointing to my site. In January, Google penalized my site for duplicate content because it found both URL's and compared them. Mine got penalized because it was the only page that really existed. The hijacker's page didn't get penalized because it only existed as a re-direct to my site.

Because my index page was now penalized, it dropped almost completely from the SERPs. (Some of my suppliement pages showed up for obscure searches) but none of my money terms.

Because I haven't been able to get a response from the hijacker's webmaster, the 302 is still in place but it is buried deep in his site and the last Google cache of the page was sometime in September. Therefore with some luck Google won't re-index it any time soon.

Will my site return to the SERPs? I don't know. Any thoughts?

 

Emmett




msg:756634
 12:12 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

OMG! I'm back in 2 datacenters!

64.233.167.99 and
64.233.167.104

The 302 link is still there but I don't seem to be getting a penalty for it.

Ranked #2 for my company name :D

zeus




msg:756635
 12:37 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Emmet I do see some changes, but its only for a few sec. then its gone and It has been that way for 2-3 weeks now, but still no sign of googlebot spidering all the lost pages, which has been droped(80%) and there are no revisiting of deleted hijacker sites which is no redirecting to themself.

I could look like some testing before a re real update, because usualy we should have had a update for a 1-2 weeks ago, but dont get your hopes up, we have not seen any changes on this topic for a YEAR.

Emmett




msg:756636
 1:09 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

If nothing else it's the first time I've seen my site in *any* data center since Feb 2nd. Still not ranking for the high traffic terms on those data centers that I used to get. You still have to search pretty deep to find anything on my site besides the site name. It's like my pagerank on the other pages has been sucked away. Of course I made so many changes trying to figure out whats wrong I may have inadverntly dr-ranked myself.

zeus




msg:756637
 1:13 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Emmett I have not made any changes to my site because I knew this was a google bug, but I also just recieve some traffic for secound class keywords, so dont panic if this is a debugging update, but still I will not call this a update yet.

Damn I hope this get fixed before the conference, then I will be there, because I would have been at Las Vegas, but then the hijacking started.

Emmett




msg:756638
 1:41 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

When this first hit I had no clue what happened so I made all sorts of changes thinking I was doing something wrong to cause a penalty. Half of what I did may have hurt me for some common searches but I don't know. Only thing I can think of that may have got my home page out in this datacenter is adding a load of content to my home page to get out from under that duplicate penalty from the 302 site. The 302 is still there listed in allinurl searches so I don't think the update has to do with them treating it any differently. In fact I would say that the 302 must still be sucking my ranking on my sub pages but again, it's impossible to tell.

idoc




msg:756639
 1:51 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't see any evidence of jacking at all for my sites now... at least the site: and inurl: and allinurl: searches show only my domains in the searches. I am also seeing some G traffic for terms that I have not seen for over a year. I had done several things like banning scrapers by i.p. as I see them. redirect non-www to www. and fairly recently... linked to the site index with the registered name in anchor text with absolute non-relative http:// www.my_site.com/index.html links in directory level top pages. I would like to think G has been getting a better handle on this... maybe so. But, maybe also the absolute linking in-site to the index has helped... because the scrapers that redirect are redirecting content to the bots with an absolute URL to your site that cannot be construed as belonging to the scraper site. Just something to think about and something that takes little effort to implement.

walkman




msg:756640
 3:18 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

My site finally ranks for "domain" ONLY. If I search for "domain.com" or any other keyword I'm nowhere to be found. Beyond a joke now...

tallguy




msg:756641
 5:33 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I hope google soon finds a way to deal with chronic hijackers.

Reid




msg:756642
 5:46 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I got this directory linking to one of my clients with a 302 - they also display his Alexa results on their directory. I know this is a very sinister or should I say deliberate hijacking method.
When nicely asked to remove the link because it is affecting our Google rankings their reply was.

"If you are having a problem with Google you should talk to Google, not us."

I wonder how they would like having 50 geocities pages with Meta refresh tags pointing at their homepage and submitted to over 10000 directories and search engines with one click. And then THEY can "talk to Google".

I think I'll e-mail them and ask.

Panacea




msg:756643
 5:54 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why do you assume Google is working on a fix for the hijacking situation?

I reported my hijacked sites to Google, and Google told me to contact the webmasters hijacking my sites and ask them to remove the links!

Vec_One




msg:756644
 6:05 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google is in the business of selling advertising. Many other companies that sell advertising use 302 redirects. If these redirects ruin the ranking of their clients' sites, the clients will have little recourse but to buy more AdWords. Could that be why Google won't fix it?

OTOH, both Google and I are making less AdSense money from my site, since it got hijacked.

diddlydazz




msg:756645
 6:10 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)


I reported my hijacked sites to Google, and Google told me to contact the webmasters hijacking my sites and ask them to remove the links!

wow!

you actually got a *real* response?

could you generalise anything else that was said?

cheers

Vec_One




msg:756646
 8:22 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm sure 100% of the outgoing correspondence is in the form of pre-approved form letters. Google doesn't respond personally. It's a public company with important corporate secrets.

eyezshine




msg:756647
 10:23 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yep, Google used to be cool before they went IPO. Now they're just another mindless big company whose morals became money.

As far as losing money that our dropped sites could be making them, when our sites drop, there are countless other sites with adsense on them, replacing us. So it doesn't hurt google at all.

When one site drops, another moves in it's place.

But I am wondering why not all sites have the hijacker problems? Why just a few? It doesn't make sense?

Some have said that the site has to have higher page rank to be able to hijack your site? But I had a PR6 site get hijacked by a PR2 page that 302'd to my home page.

I don't understand it? There must be a better reason why a PR2 can hijack a PR6. It's got to be a duplicate penalty or google just thinks your site has temporarily moved to the hijacker url so your site drops from all serp's and the hijacker url takes it's place sort of?

What is it?

Reid




msg:756648
 10:38 am on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

eyzeshine- It is a duplicate content penalty.

302 redirect page pointing to another domain should have a 'noarchive' tag. Here is why.

What happenes is a 302 says 'this page has temporarily moved to the location Im pointing to so go to that location to get this page' so google bot makes a cache of your homepage (or whatever page the redirect points to) and assigns it to the page holding the redirect. Now you have 2 cached pages exactly the same. The real homepage gets penalized because it is the 'temporary' URL that the 302 is pointing at.

Not all 302's do this - there has to be certain conditions present. if your homepage goes down, your site goes down with it.

diddlydazz




msg:756649
 3:06 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm sure 100% of the outgoing correspondence is in the form of pre-approved form letters. Google doesn't respond personally.

hi Vec_One

most of the responses i have seen have been canned, but i have had some *real* correspondence in the past.

Google told me to contact the webmasters hijacking my sites and ask them to remove the links!

I just want to clarify that Google are telling webmasters to sort this out theirselves (when it's obviously a google glitch).

Anyone else received a response similar to Panacea?

pcarlow




msg:756650
 3:25 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

How sad is this, I had the main 302 redirect that was harming my site removed by the site owner about a month ago, yet the URL hijacking still persist in the SERPs. I've even pointed several links to it to try and get Google to sort it out, but to no avail. Now I'm trying to get him to put it back so I can use the removal tool to get rid of it. He must think I'm crazy.

idoc




msg:756651
 4:55 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

"I had the main 302 redirect that was harming my site removed by the site owner about a month ago, yet the URL hijacking still persist in the SERPs."

You need to get him to have his server return a 404 for that url and not just to remove the url from the server. That way the bots will *will* know to remove the link from the database of crawl url's. Otherwise the bots will assume the site is just down temporarily and will persist in trying to index it.

Panacea




msg:756652
 5:03 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Diddlydazz & Vec_One

I have been trying to post my response from Google for quite some time, but my posts keep getting deleted by the moderators because of Webmaster World Terms of Usage and Conditions of Service, in particular rule 9.

9. Email excerpts of ANY type or length are not allowed on Webmaster World. There are no exceptions to this rule.

So you see, I am not allowed to directly quote from Google’s email to me.

Anyway, this is the situation: I reported hijacking issues to Google recently that caused my best sites to sink into supplemental index.

I used the email address as provided by GoogleGuy and included ‘canonicalpage’ in the subject line. Also included in each email were the specifics and details of the URL’s redirecting to my sites as GoogleGuy suggested.

However, the reply back from Google was contradictory. Google gave me the regular cut and paste answer that there is almost nothing a competitor can do to harm you rankings or have your site removed from the index, but they went on to say, that if I am concerned by a competitor linking to my site I should email the webmaster and ask them to remove the link.

I fail to understand why GoogleGuy would give us specific instructions on how to report hijacking issues when reply back from Google is an oxymoron answer?

pcarlow




msg:756653
 5:05 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

"You need to get him to have his server return a 404" Good idea, the page right now goes to a template of his with broken images, i figured that was just as good. I doubt I could get him to return a 404 as it took forever just to get them to remove the link.

Does anyone have a copy of the email where Google told them they had to work it out themselves with the other webmaster?

Vec_One




msg:756654
 5:26 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

pcarlow, the removal tool works, but the link must first really be dead. An error page won't work.

I've had a number of these removed by webmasters of all sorts. You sometmes need to be very persistent.

If all else fails, you might try contacting the other victims of the problem site. You can find them by doing a site: search of their doamain. Like Google, you can use a form letter to explain what has happened and who they should contact to have it fixed. Lot's of squeaky wheels get more grease than one. : )

4crests




msg:756655
 6:59 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

How long should I leave the NOINDEX tag on my main page?

Should I remove it within a couple minutes after I use the Google Removal tool?

Does Google check for the NOINDEX tag instantly?

Or, will it not work unless I leave the noindex tag on there for a certain amount of time?

what is the risk level involved with this removal process?

pcarlow




msg:756656
 7:06 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

After you hit the sumbit button on the google removal tool and get the confirmation screen, immediately remove the noindex tag from your page.

The only risk is if by some small chance gbot was spidering the real page at the same moment you had the noindex tag in place, you could loose it to. Not likely, but possible.

I removed three hijackers pages so far using this method, only one more to go and hopefully I'll be back in business. The owner said he was going to reinstate the redirect so i could have it removed. The google removal tool says a 404 could take 4-5 days and the meta tag method worked for me in less than 12 hours.

Safaridude




msg:756657
 7:32 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Panacea

As I understand it there are only two kinds of redirect 302's that you need to worry about.

1) This one redirects to your site when you click on the URL that has done the hijacking.

2) This one was directing to your site and now has a cache version of your site attributed to the hijacking URL but when you click on the hijacked url it goes back to their site or somewhere else other than your site.

You can take care of Nr 1 by using the Google removal tool. 24 Hours turnaround time.

Nr 2 is a problem because you don't control the destination of the redirect anymore so you can't use the removal tool. You need to get Google to update their cache which you can do by e-mailing them here

[google.com...]

They even state there "If you need us to remove a cached copy, please provide us with the URL(s)." which makes me think they get a lot of these.

If they don't respond to the e-mail you can file a DMCA to get them to remove the cached copy which they will respond to.

So that takes care of Nr 2. Getting rid of Nr 2 can take a long time.

Which camp do you fall into? I have the incredible good fortune(NOT) of falling into both.

pcarlow




msg:756658
 7:57 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

You forgot number 3.

#3) This URL was hijacking your site with a 302. The link was removed and the site was redirected to another page. The site: and allinurl: command still shows the 302 URL with your title and description. The cache of the 302 URL however shows the real page.

The best way to handle this is the meta tag method which can only be done with type #1. Anything else is just luck of the draw. So moral of the story is don't have the owner remove the link until you have submitted it to Google removal tool with the meta tags in place, other wise your going to go through what I'm dealing with.

4crests




msg:756659
 8:58 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

my situation is a little bit different. I have a Yahoo store. My Yahoo url is like this:

shop.store.yahoo.com/MYWIDGETS

Yahoo store has an affiliate program where you can give other websites a special trackable URL to add to their sites. I added several such affiliates, and pay them 16% of the sales they bring. Their Affiliate url looks something like this:

shop.store.yahoo.com/cgi-bin/clink?MYWIDGETS+5zMAjn

The problem I have been having lately is the tracking URL's for my affiliates are replacing my own pages in the serps. They have an identical cache since they just resolve to the same index page of my site. I am afraid that Google will see this as duplicate pages. As of right now, there are about 10 different pages listed in Google like this that all point to my main page. And since the affiliate ones seem to get cached less often, if I change something on my main site, google thinks the pages are two different pages, and lists them twice, one after the other in the serps. While it's nice to have two listings in a row, I am afraid I could end up with a penalty.

So, I have cancelled my affiliate program for now, and want to remove the sites. I thought the same instructions as above should work in this situation. Any thoughts?

Anyone else here with a Yahoo Store, and have the same problem?

cornwall




msg:756660
 9:34 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I reported my hijacked sites to Google, and Google told me to contact the webmasters hijacking my sites and ask them to remove the links!

I had that reply too from them today. I replied that "did they really think that a web site that was cynically using 302s would take them off just because I emailed them requesting removal!". I do not expect Google will give me the courtesy of a reply.

This is someone using cloaked 302s into the bargain. Seems somewhat daft that Google are prepared to penalise their own site for cloaking, but not a guy that is using cloaking plus 302 as well against thousands of sites.

Bottom line is Google seem unable or unwilling to act on 302s, even when you shovel them up both the site and the header info showing both 302 and cloaking.

I personally have now removed 40 of these 302s, and its getting sort of out of hand

Lorel




msg:756661
 11:33 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

In my allinurl search I have 4 redirects. 3 are 200s and 1 is a 404. I believe I had written all of them to remove the link a few months back. Do I need to worry about these or should I follow the same method to remove these as the 302s? I know someone said don't ask them to remove the link until you remove it from google's index, but this is after the fact.

One point of good news--there was a %20www.domain.com in the list until I redirected non-www to the www.domain last week.

Reid




msg:756662
 11:52 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

You cant remove it using the URL removal tool unless it returns a 404. So the 404 one you can remove but the other 3 you can't.
If the other 3 return a 200 and are linking to your page then you can cause them to return a 404 by making your page return a 404 until you remove them. After that you want them to remove the link before it gets crawled again.
If they remove the link first then you can't remove it from the directory unless it returns a 404.
I have one still sitting there because the php file is present but does not recognize the id# of my link. It returns no header so I'm SOL on that one.

Panacea




msg:756663
 2:15 am on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

cornwall,

I sympathise with you.

In another thread GoogleGuy actually gave us specifics on how to report hijacking. So it is even more infuriating when you follow their protocol and the net result is that they advise you to email the hijackers and ask them to remove your link.

crobb305




msg:756664
 2:32 am on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

So it is even more infuriating when you follow their protocol and the net result is that they advise you to email the hijackers and ask them to remove your link.

Keep in mind that emails are read/answered by assistants. They have the option of sending you a form reply with edits, or escalating to engineers. I would be willing to bet that most of our concerns go unread by powers-that-be or engineers; most of our emails are likely deleted. A reply such as this seems to have originated from an uninformed email reader.

I do trust that Googleguy's request for examples and information from us was sincere. And, I trust that our emails that he received were delivered to engineers as he said they would be. But, I do not trust the generic email readers who can make their job as easy as possible---they can simply hit the delete button.

Very frustrating.

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