Avoid Getting ‘Hacked Off’

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

One of the worst types of spam that Google has to deal with every day are sites that have been hacked.

Unfortunately, hacked sites proliferate the Internet, and a very frequent response from the webmaster is that the problem isn’t them, it’s Google’s search that is funky. That is rarely the case: Usually, the site in question has been hacked.

To prevent your site from getting hacked, you should be absolutely sure that the software on your web server is 100% up to date and all patches are installed. That small amount of regular maintenance is a lot easier to deal with that the full blown catastrophe that is a badly hacked website.

However, if you have not been doing your due diligence and your site does get hacked, you may eventually get a little ‘friendly’ note from Google informing you of the fact. What will usually happen is that Google’s web spam team will contact you, telling you that your site whatever.com has been hacked by people selling, selling a Viagra rip off pill. Then, the Google person will probably attach an image so that you can see the page that is being displayed in the search.

Google does not have the human resources to help out the thousands of websites that are hacked on a daily basis. So, to get your site unhacked, you are going to need to work with the techie on your website.

Note: If you don’t see the hacked links in the image Google sends you, your hackers are super devious, nasty little creatures. They are making sure only the spam links show up at Google. Google does offer a handy-dandy tool that lets Google go to your site and show you what they are seeing, called ‘Fetch as Googlebot.’ Hack help can be found here: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/04/my-sites-been-hacked-now-what.html.

The point of all this rambling is to remind you: BE SURE to keep the software on your server fully up to date to avoid being hacked. Many people are not aware of all of this hacking activity, but Google says that they spend quite a bit of their time trying to fix hacked sites and writing code to prevent this devious activity from occurring.

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