Last week we talked about ways you can make sure your website is optimally indexed, and in keeping with that theme will talk about another aspect of being proactive in ensuring your website is optimally ‘positioned’ as it were when it comes to be indexed by search engines.
Nearly all of you will know spam to be a reference to unsolicited, unwelcome communications through the Web rather than as jellied meat concoction that most of you most certainly don’t have in your kitchen cupboards. Truth is, however, it’s a lot easier to avoid that kind of spam than it is to avoid the email kind and the like.
The fact that spam – of this sort at least – is so universally unwelcome is the reason that search engines make the effort they do to ensure those of us surfing the web for whatever reason are exposed to it as little as possible. To that end they’ve developed algorithms that evaluate a website about whether or not it’s oriented to serve ‘spamming’ purposes.
Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re like any other good Canadian web hosting provider in that we know maximizing visibility is going to be a priority for anyone who’s having a website hosted for e-commerce purposes. There’s a lot that goes into that, but making sure your site is indexed as it should be and without anything that’s marginalizing it in that way is a big part of what’s important.
So today we’re going to talk about what you can do to see to it your site isn’t ‘spamdexed’ without you even being aware of it.
Spamdexing is defined – and loosely considering it’s an industry-lingo slang term for the most part – as an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings and generate traffic which is used later to fuel a scam designed by people who have less-than-legit intentions.
How this is accomplished is these threat actors gain access to a normal, healthy website before injecting malicious keywords and links into it.
It’s defined a little differently when it’s in occurring in the sphere of digital marketing and online advertising. Spamdexing here is also called SEO spam, and it’s one of the most common hacks to increase search engine ranking. It’s estimated that nearly half of all sites that end up being hacked were broken into and ‘reformatted’ for SEO reorientation purposes.
These hacks typically take aim at web sites in order to manipulate the success of a site’s SEO campaign and boost its ranking in Google, Bing or other search engines.
SEO spam is when an individual attempts to manipulate search engine rankings and generate traffic, but traffic for their own interests and safe to say not the same ones you’d have.
Then, as mentioned, what happens then is an otherwise normal website is injected with keywords and links intended to lure traffic to different scams. This practice tricks unsuspecting users who believe that they are visiting a real website to purchase orders but end up getting scammed.
Types of SEO Spam
Search engine spam can be executed through:
- Spammy links
- Spammy keywords
- Spammy post & pages
So the long and short of all this is that by gaining access to a legit website and injecting links and keywords, the hackers create a working path to their scam-oriented websites. They’re piggybacking off that site’s credibility to get their own rankings with search engines.
So the question then becomes what can you do to stay safe from SEO spam? Spamdexing is going to be an ongoing threat, so it’s going to be helpful to know what you can do to counter it effectively. Here’s the list of best practices:
- Run updates – Be certain to keep plugins and other website applications updated with the latest security patches. Overlooking updates may make your entire site totally accessible for spamdexing or SEO spam
- Maintain strong passwords – Using strong and unpredictable passwords is important, especially for protecting access to sensitive areas of your site.
- Conduct regular scans – Scanning websites on a regular basis goes a long way to ensuring owners are identifying and understanding security issues with those sites. The problem is it’s fairly common for owners to not know they’ve been hacked until they’re being penalized for having been identified as an SEO spammer source. When that happens, the damage is done in as far as your credibility with search engines is concerned.
- Utilize a firewall – A web application firewall (WAF) is a proven-effective solution to prevent a search engine spam infection. It defends websites from unknown threats, plus speeds up the efficiency that the website’s operating with.