The topic of SEO hacks came up in a conversation with one of my new customers a couple of months ago – they already had a website but were unhappy with their current provider so asked me to take on their hosting and support.
I was more than happy to do this, but, as is my standard procedure, I checked it first using Sucuri’s site scanner to make sure that it was clean – and unfortunately it wasn’t. The hack in this case was one of the most common – an SEO hack.
What is an SEO hack?
An SEO hack is simply where the hacker breaks into the source code of the website and injects links back to their own websites. Unfortunately these links are usually invisible to the casual visitor so you can only find them by scanning the site.
Why do hackers do SEO hacks?
By adding spam SEO links to other people’s sites, hackers are trying to take advantage of the hacked site’s SEO ranking by creating backlinks to their own site, and thereby improving their own search engine ranking.
Why is an SEO hack a problem?
Although very very common, an SEO hack isn’t the type of hack that you see in the news where sensitive data is stolen, so it’s not a serious data protection issue, but it does raise a couple of concerns:
- It shows that your site is insecure, so even if the hack isn’t serious this time it could well be next time.
- Once Google spots it you run the very real risk of having your site blacklisted, and that could be disastrous for your business.
How do hackers gain access to the site?
Forensic IT isn’t my area of expertise, but in my experience it’s almost always (as it was in this case) because the site is using out of date software and has no firewall. Although there are never any guarantees in this game, keeping your theme and plugins up to date and installing a good firewall should protect against all but the most determined hacker.
If you don’t know where to start with any of this, have a look at our support package then give me, Jackie, a call on 07762 140 433, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can have a chat about how I can sort all of this out for you.
How to fix an SEO hack
The easiest and most cost effective way to fix an SEO hack is to leave it to the professionals. There are many companies around who do it, including us at Jackdaw Web Design, where for a one-off payment we’ll clean and secure your site, and have it back to you all shiny and new within a day. And if we can’t fix it you don’t have to pay a penny.