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Sometimes, an HTTP status 302 redirect or an HTML META refresh causes Google to replace the redirect's destination URL with the redirect URL. The word "hijack" is commonly used to describe this problem, but redirects and refreshes are often implemented for click counting, and in some cases lead to a webmaster "hijacking" his or her own URLs.
Normally in these cases, a search for cache:[destination URL] in Google shows "This is G o o g l e's cache of [redirect URL]" and oftentimes site:[destination domain] lists the redirect URL as one of the pages in the domain.
Also link:[redirect URL] will show links to the destination URL, but this can happen for reasons other than "hijacking".
Searching Google for the destination URL will show the title and description from the destination URL, but the title will normally link to the redirect URL.
There has been much discussion on the topic, as can be seen from the links below.
How to Remove Hijacker Page Using Google Removal Tool [webmasterworld.com]
Google's response to 302 Hijacking [webmasterworld.com]
302 Redirects continues to be an issue [webmasterworld.com]
Hijackers & 302 Redirects [webmasterworld.com]
Solutions to 302 Hijacking [webmasterworld.com]
302 Redirects to/from Alexa? [webmasterworld.com]
The Redirect Problem - What Have You Tried? [webmasterworld.com]
I've been hijacked, what to do now? [webmasterworld.com]
The meta refresh bug and the URL removal tool [webmasterworld.com]
Dealing with hijacked sites [webmasterworld.com]
Are these two "bugs" related? [webmasterworld.com]
site:www.example.com Brings Up Other Domains [webmasterworld.com]
Incorrect URLs and Mirror URLs [webmasterworld.com]
302's - Page Jacking Revisited [webmasterworld.com]
Dupe content checker - 302's - Page Jacking - Meta Refreshes [webmasterworld.com]
Can site with a meta refresh hurt our ranking? [webmasterworld.com]
Google's response to: Redirected URL [webmasterworld.com]
Is there a new filter? [webmasterworld.com]
What about those redirects, copies and mirrors? [webmasterworld.com]
PR 7 - 0 and Address Nightmare [webmasterworld.com]
Meta Refresh leads to ... Replacement of the target URL! [webmasterworld.com]
302 redirects showing ultimate domain [webmasterworld.com]
Strange result in allinurl [webmasterworld.com]
Domain name mixup [webmasterworld.com]
Using redirects [webmasterworld.com]
redesigns, redirects, & google -- oh my [webmasterworld.com]
Not sure but I think it is Page Jacking [webmasterworld.com]
Duplicate content - a google bug? [webmasterworld.com]
How to nuke your opposition on Google? [webmasterworld.com] (January 2002 - when Google's treatment of redirects and META refreshes were worse than they are now)
Hijacked website [webmasterworld.com]
Serious help needed: Is there a rewrite solution to 302 hijackings? [webmasterworld.com]
How do you stop meta refresh hijackers? [webmasterworld.com]
Page hijacking: Beta can't handle simple redirects [webmasterworld.com] (MSN)
302 Hijacking solution [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
Location: versus hijacking [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
A way to end PageJacking? [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
Just got google-jacked [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
Our company Lisiting is being redirected [webmasterworld.com]
This thread is for further discussion of problems due to Google's 'canonicalisation' of URLs, when faced with HTTP redirects and HTML META refreshes. Note that each new idea for Google or webmasters to solve or help with this problem should be posted once to the Google 302 Redirect Ideas [webmasterworld.com] thread.
<Extra links added from the excellent post by Claus [webmasterworld.com]. Extra link added thanks to crobb305.>
[edited by: ciml at 11:45 am (utc) on Mar. 28, 2005]
RE: If URLa did a 302 redirect to URLb, then this is a temporary redirect. URLa is saying that the content temporarily resides at URLb. There is no reason to include URLa in the search results though. Google could quite easily include URLb in the results with its associated content being cached and indexed.
From my personal observations concerning 302's which I use readilly for my own domains.
That is exactly the way it worked right up to and just after Florida. Link popularity and pagerank was passed to URLb Then came a change in later updates. The change is in the algo and how it determines the "better page". Apparently the algo is looking for the higher authority (via backlinks /pagerank / whatever) If URLa has more backlinks /pagerank/ whatever / than URLb, then the content is indexed under URLa. The funny thing is using this flawed reasoning results in bizarre search results.
As this began to take place, many black hat webmasters figured out how to beat google using the 302. That is why it now is getting out of hand and will continue to get worse.
They either fix it or the black hats will fill the top 50 in just about any search area they go after.
For google to backtrack on this method of ranking results will set them back to pre-florida. From what I can see Yahoo cares less about a higher authority and just indexes URLb ( perhaps with a penalty) - Msn follows google somewhat and indexes URLb but assigns much less weight to the backlinks /pagerank/whatever of URLa.
[edited by: ciml at 6:01 pm (utc) on Mar. 25, 2005]
[edit reason] Note added. [/edit]
Well, the hijacker keeps the link active even when I temporarily disable my entire site. So Google won't let me delete the link or cache. I've sent letters to the offender, thier hosting company and to Google. Of course no response from anyone yet.....what a nightmare.
Net warrier this means only one thing. The hijacker has a copy of your page on his site. That is if the link goes to your page even when your site is down.
I would do a detailed route on how this link goes (supposedly to you) and where this page actually resides. Make detailed record of the whole set-up and start threatening people.
This is not a 302 redirect bug, this is blatant hijacking. Is the guy running adsense? Threaten to report him. Threaten to report his host to the proper authorities if they don't take action.
Make sure you got the url of your page on his server first though. You start raising crap and that page will be gone.
Anyone else have anything to say about this? How long have others had to wait before their site came back?
I'm getting worried.
thankfully the other 8,750 pages of my site are all still in the index. It's only my main index page. But, this main index page showed up near the top for many of my main important keywords, now i'm not there.
I wonder if I somehow received a Duplicate Content penalty on my index page before I could get them removed.
When I type my page URL into Internet Explorer, the Google Toolbar still shows my site as a pagerank 5, as normal.
If i did receive a duplicate content penalty, would my PR show zero, or be shaded or something. Or is it normal for it to retain it's PR?
Am I totally off track on this?
I have just found two indentical (not similar) pages from 2 different skyscraper redirect sites next to each other in the SERPs of a competitive KW
Does this mean the dup filter is broken now or do 302 sites just get special treatment all round.
I never thought I'd hear myself say it but 'Google is broke'!
An extra entry in robots.txt enabling/disabling 302's to/from external sites would take care of this...
<META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noredir">
1.) This would allow webmasters to be able to deal with redirections due to the ignorance or abuse of other webmasters.
2.) Redirection 302 would still be accepted as such by search engines when authorized by the webmaster of the target page.
3.) The tricks with a temporay "noindex, nofollow" is quite interesting, but it is obviously too tricky to be a real long term solution. The worst side of it is that it creates a lot of unproductive work for the victim.
An advantage of this NOREDIR is that it could work with all search engines. Not only Google suffers from the 302 redirection.
With the recent introduction of NOFOLLOW, the search engines proved they were able to create new attributes to make their work better. Why not a NOREDIR? It would give a competitive advantage to the search engines supporting it.
But, when i hit the Cache button, it shows the following:
"Your search - cache:ehkm_NZ0P5kJ:shop.store.yahoo.com/widgets/ - did not match any documents"
Anyone know what this means?
Why isn't there a cache of my site?
I'm so happy.
It was out for about a week. My main index page had been hijacked by one of my affiliates. It totally replaced my index page in Google. I used the google removal tool to remove the offending site. Also, found about 9 other offending sites at the same time and removed them also. They all cached back to my index page, so removal was simple. But, after removal, my index page still wasn't back. I wrote to every email address I could possibly find at Google and asked for reinclusion. I'm not sure if it just naturally took a week to come back on it's own, or if the emails I wrote did the trick.
Regardless, I'm going to go celebrate!