Recently a new crop of cyber criminals manipulated the search results for auto parts and caused over 1 million malicious links to target the Ford Motor Company, according to a report generated by Pandalabs.
On the Internet, where your website appears in the hierarchy of search results determines how many users can find your website. Web pages that don’t make the first page or two of search results receive much less traffic than the sites that do.
Since Google’s PageRank technology began, webmasters and spammers alike have been trying to figure out every possible way to increase their search result page ranking.
When the lines of ethics are crossed and dubious techniques are used to manipulate internet users into visiting websites that don’t bear any relevance to their search, contain spam instead of content, and the like, it is referred to as black hat SEO.
Search engines like Google and Yahoo have been combating these techniques since their inception but every now and then a group of webmasters discover a new tactic and the search engines need to change their strategy to stop them.
This time the black hatters took terms that are commonly searched for and used them to jump to the top of the search result page. The influx of social media, including websites like Facebookand YouTube created a new avenue for spammers to dump hundreds of spam links into comment areas and discussion boards which quickly moved their pages to the top.
Part of the problem stems from Google’s preference for fresh content, which includes ranking pages (in part) according to their “link velocity”. When large amounts of links are updated to constantly refreshed websites like social media networks, which rely on constantly updated information as part of their basic platform, the Google web crawlers count the new links towards the website’s page ranking.
Unfortunately in this case, instead of finding a website that contains auto parts, internet users have been redirected to spam sites, in some cases up to ten pages of them.
In response to this massive spam rebellion Google is allegedly changing their algorithm to weed out this kind of spam and restore relevant search results to their place at the top of the page.
There has been no official word yet on how the change in Google’s algorithm will affect other search engine optimized websites, but an anonymous insider at Google revealed that this latest tweaking will ensure the spam attacks do not occur “nearly as often”.