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Hackers inserting my brand on other people's sites - advice needed



9:56 pm on Aug 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

With in the last couple of weeks I'm seeing quite a few google alerts from hacking victim sites. The hackers appear to be inserting hundreds to thousands of interlinked pages full of spun garbage, which are also cloaked to all but Googlebot. At least some of these pages are using my brand name in them. A few years ago I might have just shrugged and moved on, but given the current vengeful sword of Google I'm particularly concerned about any potential damage.

Two points of advice I'd love to hear.

First, trying to explain this to the victim isn't exactly easy. The people I've contacted generally don't understand much about what I'm telling them. Telling them about a user agent switcher to detect the cloaking is one thing which doesn't seem to make sense. I've also tried telling them how to search with site operators like site:theirsite.com my brand - which also isn't exactly intuitive, but at least if I get them that far I can tell them to click on the Cached results to see it how google sees it. Any suggestions for easier ways to explain?

Second, How far should this be scaled? And how can it be scaled? I'd guess these dirtbags are stepping up these efforts, as I'm seeing them come through with more frequency. I run SEO for a major brand in a very competitive space, and even the smallest negative impact could kill years of work. It takes a lot of time just to explain this, let alone fix it.

Thanks everyone in advance for your advice here.


12:33 am on Aug 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Why not just send them a link to the cached version of the page? This should show them immediately that something is horribly wrong with their page and needs fixing.


8:25 pm on Aug 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

good call - i've sent one along to someone once, but I get a feeling the link was truncated when they tried to view it. Those things can get epic

Robert Charlton

9:01 pm on Aug 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

good call - i've sent one along to someone once, but I get a feeling the link was truncated when they tried to view it. Those things can get epic

You can give the Google URL Shortener a try...

http://goo.gl/ [goo.gl]

In your case, though, this might be a problem, or it might not be an issue...
All goo.gl URLs and click analytics are public and can be accessed by anyone.

There's a "Hide" function, but...
Hidden URLs remain public, but are removed from your history

There are other url shorteners available. Probably best not to discuss specifics here, but you should be able to find one easily.


9:42 pm on Aug 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Oddly I rejected using shortners given the low trust situation. But given the fact that these people have been hacked they probably don't have the same level of paranoia that I do.

Who knows that might have been part of the mechanics of the hack for all I know.

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