Small businesses are bleeding financially and this is having a negative effect on their reputations all because of this SEO spam cyberattack. These attacks are popularly known as search engine poisoning (SEP) attacks and as you can infer from the name, their goal is to poison your website results on search engines.
To fully understand the nature of this attack, you need to first understand what SEO is. SEO is known as search engine optimization and this is what actually helps rank your website higher than all of your competitors when customers search online. Search engines such as Google and Bing employ special software that crawls through your website and it’s content and then outputs the most relevant sites for whatever query a customer is making on his end. With proper optimization, you will have more visitors directed towards your site and this translates to more sales for you.
The SEO attacks happen as a result of malicious code being injected into your site with foreign links and keywords. Hackers can insert these links anywhere on your site and they can even embed these malicious links in your Metadata.
Very popular amongst these foreign links that are injected is pharmaceutical ads, casino ads, and services such as write your school paper for your ads. These keywords are often tied to backlink to their preferred sites.
Effect of SEO Spam
This spam can do a lot of damage to your business as it misleads your potential customers and collapses the reputation and integrity of your website. This is due to the foreign keywords and links that have been embedded in the website. When visitors see all of the contradictions between what your sites actually is what they see as the keywords, they quickly lose interest in anything you are saying. Google will eventually flag your site as compromised
How can you protect yourself?
- Register with Google’s webmaster tools: this tool is free and very easy to use. As Google is one of the biggest search engines out there that are constantly crawling the web when you register with their tools, you will be prompted the moment it finds a problem on your site and this gives you a 48-hour head start before it is flagged as compromised on google servers.
- Deploy a monitoring tool: there are various services that will consistently monitor your sites for any red flags or suspicious events that you wouldn’t ordinarily notice on your own. This can be complementary to the google webmaster tools.
- Monitor Keywords: this is an excellent way to get all members of your different teams involved in one activity. You can get your marketing team to monitor the traffic and keyword performance and they are usually on the front lines thus strategically positioned to identify unusual behavior such as a random spike in keywords in niches you aren’t a part of.
Security is dynamic and you need to stay up to date with the current trends in order to adequately protect yourself.