In today’s internet world, we know how important a website is for any business. Website plays a major role in the success of the business. And, search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, etc can help you drive a lot of organic traffic to your site but if your website’s SEO is strong. In this world where people are following ethical SEO practices, some people follow blackhat SEO practices like SEO spam or spamdexing.
Spamdexing is so powerful that it can sink the ranking of any website and thereby break a small business.
Working of an SEO Spam
These days threat actors pick numerous methods to launch negative SEO attacks. SEO spam is one such negative SEO attack where the thereat actors try to inject malicious links and well-hidden spammy content.
Even the bots are used to execute negative SEO attacks for comment spamming. These comments make your site seems fishy. As a result, you will lose your potential client.
Alternatively, they add codes that users can’t see and read but is readable by the Google bot.
Detect & Clean Your Website For any SEO Malware
As we discussed in our previous blog posts, outdated plugins or themes are the loopholes for hackers to obtain access to your site. They can inject viruses like favicon.ico malware, wp-feed.php malware, etc.
Below, we have crafted a list of signs that indicate whether you have been affected by SEO spam or not.
- Google Search Console Warnings
- Sudden decline or increase in website traffic
- Extra pages and posts not created by you
- Spam ads
- Unusual characters and anchor texts
Additionally, some other steps to find out SEO Spam are:
Run Malware Tests
You can find several tools for Malware scanning on the internet. However, we suggest that you run Sucuri Malware Scanner tests to identify the presence of malware on your website. Not only Sucuri scanner is free but also is an excellent malware scanning tool.
Google Safe Browsing Site Status Tool
To check whether your website is infected with malware or not, head over to Google’s safe browsing site status. Add URL to check the site status.
Identify SEO Spam Google Search Console
Google Search Console incorporates a feature that helps in identifying the security issues faced by the pages within your site. Additionally, you can observe the patterns of threat actors. For instance, if you are website is infected by and SEO malware, you will observe a sudden decline in website traffic or having keywords that are not at all associated with your website (irrelevant keywords).
Search Your Site in Incognito Mode
The SEO spammers are so smart that they execute the attack so cautiously that you won’t even realize what has happened. To identify if you fell in the prey of the hackers,
- Open incongnito or private browsing mode and look for your website
- Change your IP address to any other location or country other than yours and then look for your website on Google
- Open your website on any other device where you are your opening your site for the first time
Contact Your Web Hosting Provider
If you have done all the steps to detect SEO malware and aren’t satisfied with the results, the ultimate option is to contact your web hosting provider and request them to run the test for you.
If you are hosting with ByteNAP, you don’t need to worry about anything as we have several security tools to regularly monitor our client’s site against any hacking attempt.
How to Safeguard your Site Against SEO Spam?
With each passing day, the level of hackers and their hacking tools are increasing. We must take preventive measures against spamdexing.
Let’s see how you can secure your website against SEO malware:
Regularly Update WordPress Themes and Plugins
To safeguard your website against SEO malware, regularly update your WordPress theme and plugins. The update most importantly comprises bug fixes and security patches that fix the security issues existing in the earlier version of the theme or plugin. If you find any of your plugins or themes to be outdated, you should update that plugin as soon as possible.
Make Use of Strong Passwords and Secure Username
Using a strong password for website log-in is one such best security practice that you must follow. We suggest that you use combination characters and special symbols along with numbers to make a strong.
Having strong passwords which are difficult to crack is equally as important as using a secure username for a website login.
Regularly Scan Website
The admin of the website should be alert at times. He/she should regularly monitor for any unusual activities going on the site and should scan for any malware present on your site.
Deploy Firewall to Prevent Spammy Comments
A firewall is essential as it prevents several hacking attempts. Firewalls help block the bad bots that try to spam your website with spammy comments. With a firewall, you have a layer of security.
Take Regular Backup of your Website
One must regularly take backup of their site. A website backup will save your time and effort as you don’t have to start from scratch. There are two ways to backup your WordPress site.
- Manually backing up your WordPress site with phpMyAdmin
- Backing up WordPress site with plugin
Additionally, you can secure your WordPress website with these tips.
What if Infected with Spamdexing?
Once, you find out that you have been infected with SEO spam, you need to keep calm and act quickly. Any delay in the act could prove to be disastrous for your website.
The first and foremost thing to get rid of this spam is to get rid of malicious codes and scripts from your website.
On detecting spam, there stands a risk of Google penalizing your website. This is from Google’s perspective.
And, from the user’s point of view also, when the users see irrelevant and malicious backlinks on your site, they will consider it as spam, and eventually, you will lose your potential customer.
Now, when you have so many pages on your site, you can’t exactly find where the malicious links are stuffed.
In such a case, the process of cleaning your WordPress site becomes quite complex. But, if you have proper backup in the first place, you can easily restore your site.
Backups are crucial for your website. We recommend our Managed WordPress Hosting plans that offer free backups along with optimal website performance and 24/7 instant support.
You should always go for a quality and reliable web hosting provider who can help you out in difficult and challenging situations.
We hope this article, helped you understand what is SEO spam or spamdexing how to fix it.