Hacked Government Web Pages With Adult Content In Google Search

Jul 28, 2020 • 8:01 am | comments (0) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Danny Sullivan, Google's Search Liaison was on the defensive yesterday when there were a number of complaints that Google was showing adult content from governmental web sites. The issue is, it is not a Google bug, instead, it is the governmental web sites were hacked to show this content.

Oh, and this happens all the time. Hackers will serve users normal content but when GoogleBot accesses this content, it will use the power of the domain name to try to rank adult content or other types of content. This has been going on for ages, it is very common to see with outdated WordPress sites that were hacked as well.

Here is an example given by Fred Wilson on Twitter of the MTA (public mass transit) and their site appearing to be hacked and displaying adult content in Google search.

To be clear, the MTA page is NOT hacked. It is the anchor text Google used for the title based probably on links pointing to the page. That MTA page is something Google is disallowed to crawl and thus uses other means (links to the page?) to figure out what the page is about.

I cannot replicate this now, so maybe Google caught it on their end? Often, Google will spot this and remove the page from its index until it is resolved. But it can take time.

This looks really bad for the MTA.

Here is another from @thezedwards:

click for full size

Again, this is very common and this is how Danny Sullivan responded:

Sad to see this but Google does send out notices, when it can and when it notices it, of hacks to the site owner. Google Search Console has a ton of tools for this and on top of that Google does email.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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