Matt Cutts On Hacked Site & Hand Editing Search Results

Jul 26, 2010 • 9:01 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google's Matt Cutts spoke at a SEO conference in Belgium named Search University II. He spoke for about twenty minutes about a lot of SEO topics. The specific topic he put more stress on was about hacked sites - which is a big concern out there. I'll post the video below for all to watch.

I spotted three relevant threads over the weekend, so I thought I discuss them all in this single post.

A Google Web Search Help thread has a classic example of a site being hacked to target a search query that is timely. The search query was mentioned on TV, a site was hacked to take advantage of it and the first result was impacted. The thread creator said:

I happened to be watching Deadliest Catch on Discovery tonight and when I went to Google and searched for 'phil harris' the top result is but the title of the search result is:

Cheap Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) Online - Reliable Online DrugStore...

Google's JohnMu was quick to respond, saying:

It looks like that website has been modified (probably by a third-party) to return pharmaceutical content to Google. In other words, when Googlebot looked at those pages, we saw something with that title (you can see the whole page by clicking on the "Cached" link for the search result), and not the content that you see when you visit yourself. This is something the website owner needs to fix, so I sent a short email to let them know about it :).

Matt Cutts said Google would take immediate action on certain sites that are hacked or intentionally are manipulating the results, when necessary. In a case like this, where a computer can be infected, you can see Google pull the result quickly.

A WebmasterWorldthread talks about Google hand editing search results. The consensus in that thread is that Google does not hand edit the top 10 results, but of course, when spam or hacked content gets in, they would.

In a Google Webmaster Help thread, Googler JohnMu gives advice to a webmaster who recently saw his site hacked. John said:

- You can help verify the age of a cached page by automatically adding today's date to your pages (it could be in a HTML comment, if you want).

- Set up Google Alerts for your site with problematic keywords (eg add " viagra|ringtones|casino" as an alert). Google Alerts is a fast way to get notified of new, potentially problematic content.

- Use the "Fetch as Googlebot" feature to double-check any suspicious page.

And now for that video:

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Previous story: Should Google AdSense Do Away With Pub IDs? Go Allowed Sites Only?



07/26/2010 01:29 pm

Ok here is my issue with having a clients site that has hacked, it is the sheer number of terms you maybe susceptible... here is just a sample of terms:free virus scan, free asian porn clips, cialis reviews, cold water extraction, my ebay bidding, vega 100mg, airmail, pill identification, dog veterinary, cheap contact lenses, testicle pain, methadose, my ebay, doseage, tremadol, fiorciet, ozonol How can you be expected to scan for those variety of terms in a larger site?

Jaan Kanellis

07/26/2010 06:02 pm

@David that is why Cutts gets paid the big bucks. Spam check scalability.

Vanessa Fox

07/26/2010 06:24 pm

David, one thing you can do is pay attention to the keywords report in Google Webmaster Tools. If you see anything that's not relevant to your site, you might want to investigate further.


07/27/2010 02:38 pm

"The consensus in that thread is that Google does not hand edit the top 10 results, but of course, when spam or hacked content gets in, they would." - Why of course? I don't see why it couldn't be done automatically - they already must have tests for checking for malicious code as reported in GWT.

blog comments powered by Disqus