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Could Hacked Spam Pages Damage a Website In Google
pagerank10couk



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 9:25 am on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Two days ago we noticed some very unwanted google search results in our logs (adult related terms)

We then checked google for these terms and out site appeared in the serps, on clicking on the links our website displayed content and pictures relating to these search results.

Completely baffled at first, thinking we had been hacked we then realized what the spammer had done, they had entered very simple html code into the search box which made our site display all this unwanted content.

Although just displaying unwanted content to the spammer would not be a problem, the spammer had copied the link in the search.php url and linked to it from his website to get it indexed in google.

On checking google we found 60 adult pages indexed in our search.php pages which were not created by us.

We then altered our search coding so this can not happen again and so those false pages can no longer appear.

The problem is now 2 days later our site has plummeted in the serps for the first time ever in 2 years, although this maybe a coincidence its very worrying.

Any advice please?

Lee

[edited by: engine at 10:52 am (utc) on May 28, 2008]

 

skweb

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 1:01 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

I doubt if that is the reason for the drop. For any large website there are always huge fluctuations in serps and to the best of my knowledge Google does not treat an adult website any different than a website that is family friendly.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 1:48 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

On checking google we found 60 adult pages indexed in our search.php pages which were not created by us. We then altered our search coding so this can not happen again and so those false pages can no longer appear.

Not good. It's great that you've corrected the issue. Unfortunately in this case a proactive approach should be considered. I know, how do you account for something like that? :(

The problem is now 2 days later our site has plummeted in the serps for the first time ever in 2 years, although this maybe a coincidence its very worrying.

I'd be inclined to believe that it is not a coincidence and that you'll need to file a reinclusion request with Google. Provide all the detail you can and let them know what you've done to correct it. Don't wait any longer, File Today!

How do I request reconsideration of my site?
[google.com...]

pagerank10couk



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 2:03 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

What we have done to correct the issue is alter the search coding so it cannot happen again and so that those pages are not displayed when the searched links are clicked.

Ive also added the noindex/nofollow to the search.php page and requested in webmaster tools that any search.php page is removed from googles index.

If this isn't a coincedence then it just goes to show a single website / person can damage another websites rankings in the serps.

Im pretty furious about this because we are very strict on what content is allowed on our site and are constantly policing the site for unsuitable, duplicate content and other thing such has hidden text which are against googles guidlines.

Its not only us but hundreds of affiliates will be effected by this.

All the pages seem to be indexed ok, its just that instead of being on pages 1-3 for most keywords they are way down the rankings so would a re-inclusion request do anygood as the site is still fully included?

Lee

pagerank10couk



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 2:12 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

I cannot find 'Request reconsideration' under the 'tools' section in google webmaster tools, has that facility been removed?

Lee

pagerank10couk



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 2:35 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Eventually found it :-), and filled in the reconsideration request.

Lee

rjwmotor

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 2:47 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hope it turns out better for you but...

I had the same thing happen in December 07 to a 2 year old site that was just starting to make some $ and climb the rankings. Only about 30 spam pages got indexed though. The pages weren't the problem. Those were removed almost immediately after fixing the problem and filing the reconsideration request. I feel it was the HUGE number of inbound links that were generated almost immediately to those pages even after making them 404's. I still get requests for these pages daily. I think that this may have triggered a penalty and upon further reveiew from G may have then got hit with the -950. Still sitting at the back 5 months later...

Let us hear how it turns out for you..

pagerank10couk



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 2:59 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

I dont think that just the amount of inbound links would be a problem with our site as we get far more than that a day anyway (calculating the amount of links divided by the sites age) so in a search engines eyes that would be normal for the site.

Links shown in google webmaster tools is 274,380 / 770 days (age of site) = 356 links per day.

Lee

rjwmotor

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 7:57 pm on May 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yeah with that number of daily backlinks i wouldn't see that as necessarily being your problem.

With the reconsideration request comes a manual reveiw so be sure the site is clean and white-hat.

pagerank10couk



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 12:23 am on May 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

I try and keep it clean and white hat all the time, although things do slip through the net as the sites content is owned by hundreds of different affiliates / webmasters etc.. so trying to keep it white hat is full time job in itself.

Google has been very good to us in the past and pointed out certain pages which contained hidden links without penalizing us, we then deleted the page and banned the page owner.

Cheers

Lee

pagerank10couk



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 1:41 pm on May 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ive just typed the command site:www.domain.co.uk/search.php into google and all those 60 unwanted pages have now been removed which is some good news at least.. no improvement on my sites serp positions yet though.

rjwmotor

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 6:32 pm on May 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

keep us informed...

pagerank10couk



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 7:26 pm on May 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

The only other bit of info I have is that one of our page owners informed me that they saw google (mountain view) on the stats for quite a few hours looking through pages at around 3.30am (gmt)

Because nothing has improved yet im not sure if the above is good or bad news.

If google knew how much time and effort has been put into this site... (not just us but the page owners) then they would realize how much of a loss it would be to a lot of people to penalize it... very sad :-(

I have got to know and like a lot of these page owners and this makes things even more difficult knowing that a lot of them depend on the site for a large percentage of their income and its a family run business and is our only income.

Lee

[edited by: tedster at 7:39 pm (utc) on May 29, 2008]

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 7:40 pm on May 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

If google knew how much time and effort has been put into this site... (not just us but the page owners) then they would realize how much of a loss it would be to a lot of people to penalize it... very sad :-(

Lee, unfortunately The Gorg typically do not get personally involved with their SERPs.

I have got to know and like a lot of these page owners through the site and via a4uforum and this makes things even more difficult knowing that a lot of them depend on the site for a large percentage of their income and its a family run business and is our only income.

Oh, there are thousands of topics around here of Google penalizing sites and companies closing shop. It happens every day I think. When you have a business model built around an algo that is constantly evolving, you've got to be prepared for what may happen. I get real uncomfortable when the percentage of search engine traffic far outweighs other sources of traffic.

Do keep us posted so others who may be in a similar situation can follow your same steps to resolve the issues. I can imagine Google receives an untold number of Reinclusion Requests on a daily basis and if they've responded this quickly, Kudos to them and excellent for you and your team.

pagerank10couk



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 7:59 pm on May 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yeah but wouldn't it be nice if they did get personally involved with their serps, but I suppose only small family run businesses work like that.

I couldn't even imagine how many good websites / businesses have been shut down due an unfair google slap. Although I don't like how google works I cannot really see how they can make things any fairer considering the size of the company.

I can guarantee one thing though.. ill never stop trying to get unslapped and ill gladly keep you informed of my efforts.

Lee

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 10:24 pm on May 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

I was a retail manager before I came to the web - and live through some parallel business situations in the physical world. We'd have a location going great and the city would change the bus stop, or a major road construction project would start. Only some locations had a diverse enough source of traffic to hold up under those situations.

That was on a much smaller scale than the entire web, and even then the cities or states involved rarely offered the smallet relief to the merchant. So now I think of Google like a big bus route, or a major interstate that might deliver great traffic to the door -- for now. But I still need to look at the situation realistically and know that diversification of revenue is essential, because a route change or highway detour might be just around the corner,

One chain that I worked for made 40% of their profit from a famous brand. This went on for decades -- until that brand lost their handle on the market. Fortunately, we saw it coming soon enough to fill up that floor space with different goods and attract a new source of customers.

With Google's dominance, it can be a challenge not to depend on their search traffic for survival. I mean, if your traffic booms, you certainly do need to scale up to meet the new demand. If you get to a place where you just need to downsize if Google traffic goes away, that's about the best you can aim for, at least in many situations.

pagerank10couk



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 11:52 pm on May 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the reply tedster, I always read your posts with interest, I may be a new poster but i've read the forum for quite a few years.

I fully agree that nobody should rely on google so heavily and that you should always have other sources of traffic, however with our business model it is all about search engine placements so its not really possible to use other forms of traffic other than search engines.

We also rank very high in msn and yahoo but the percentage of visitors gained from those other two search engines is far far less than with google, so with losing such a big percentage of the search engine market doesn't make our service look very appealing.

We don't get massive ammounts of traffic but as our website is only just over 2 years old it doesn't do bad, it gets around 11,000 unique visitors a day with google and only 3,000 uv's a day without.

Im not wanting to get my hopes up here but i've just checked our stats and things appear to be getting back to normal, although not quite as good as before its certainly a massive improvement in our google serp positions... ill get a better picture of it tomorrow and let you all know.

Fingers crossed and thanks for everyones posts so far!

Cheers

Lee

topranker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3660667 posted 10:13 am on May 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Had to re-register as my username was not allowed... sorry about that.

Just to inform you all that the site is now ranking well as normal in the serps, so if it was penalized and google did review the site and decided everything was ok, then all I can say is wow!, now thats what I call a fast turn around and if there is such thing as a Google fan club... sign me up :-)

You have no idea how please I am about this.

Lee

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