Google: 302 Hijacks Have Not Succeed In Years

Nov 10, 2011 • 8:59 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google HijackYesterday, I was covering a panel on black hat tactics where the solo presenter, Ziv Dascalu, talked about some really dirty tactics. One of those was the use of 302 hijacks.

Ziv said, they still work, "if done right."

So when I saw Google's web spam leader, Matt Cutts post in a HackerNews thread saying 302 hijacks have not worked in years - I wondered who is telling the truth.

Matt said, "way back in the mists of time we had things called "302 hijacks" but I haven't seen any attempts like that succeed in years."

Yes, way back, 302 hijacks were a serious issue. But like Matt said, I personally have not seen many complaints about sites being hijacked in the search results - at least not in the scale they were years ago.

Do you know if 302 hijacks indeed still work? Or are we confusing what a 302 hijack is and both are telling the truth?

Forum discussion at HackerNews.

Image credit: Simon Booth / ShutterStock.

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Scott Boyd

11/10/2011 02:15 pm

I think Google still has trouble with them, but not sure if it's the extent that it could be used to hijack other sites.  I've taken over SEO accounts where the client has hundreds of satelite domains 302 redirecting to various sections of their primary site - the satelites in some cases do outrank the original.  But I think that's largely down to the low visibility of the original.  I think any site that takes SEO even halfway seriously doesn't need to worry.  That said, the fact that 302 hijacking can work against sites / pages that aren't particularly well optimised means a skilled SEO could take advantage of the loophole and use it against more dominant competitors.  However, in many cases the resources and skill that would take to do it would probably outweigh the potential rewards.


11/10/2011 02:46 pm

Matt's a liar, a proven liar. That is his job of course.

Ben Pfeiffer

11/10/2011 04:30 pm

They still work, maybe not for artifically hijacking Toolbar PR from another website (that was patched), but if done right 302's can still wreak some pretty substantial havoc. Matt has no idea what he is saying.


11/10/2011 08:41 pm

I built a program to check links and I still see sites with fake toolbar pageranks from 302 hijacks.

Tamim adam

11/17/2011 10:50 am

302 permanent redirection hijacking still work and worse working. Here your go now, search google with this keyword "lose weight fast", you will see a site named " herehowtoloseweightfast (dot) com" ranking mostly first or second place. They are hijacker of 302!


07/05/2012 08:54 pm

Gonna majorly disagree with Matt here. Dealing with a 302 hijack with a client as we speak. Google "Frederick Living" and you get my client's site at the top of the page ( and all of their results. However, clicking on any results from this domain result in you being forwarded to, which is a generic search page with all kinds of links for "cialis" "viagra" and the like (thinking that these will appeal to the retirement crowd, perhaps?). We're struggling to regain control. This is a full 302 hijack (the whole site and all associated domains) and not just a single page.

Kelvin Jones

08/20/2013 03:38 pm

This isn't old news, I've just seen it with one of my clients... the last one I had to deal with was about 4 years ago and Google said the same thing then. Funnily enough the latest client was the victim of a denial of service attack a week ago - think they upset someone.

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