Pharma hack SEO link-spam hitting 30 per cent of top 100 results

If you’re a busy reader here’s this article in a couple of lines:

  1. Your website is valuable and there are bad people who will be happy to take advantage of it for you
  2. Those bad people, well they’re smart and you may not spot it if (and when) they do compromise your site
  3. If your site is hacked, the higher profile you are, the more embarassing the result
  4. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to get alerts when your site is compromised, as a bare minimum, set up an alert: use Google Alerts
  5. If you can, keep your site and plugins up to date.

To check your site for this particular scam, simply type site:[your domain name] “bad word” into a google search to see if there’s anything suspect on your site. Replace ‘your domain name’ with your site name, e.g. if it were amazon in the UK, you’d enter amazon.co.uk, replace ‘bad word’ with your bad word of choice, a common one used by the spammers is vi*gr*  (replace the asterisks with the letter a and put the entire ‘bad word’ in double quotes).

If you’ve got a bit longer, take a look at the image of the search engine results page (SERP) below. Ever heard of the Centre for Policy Studies? It’s an influential UK think tank, check out their entry in the SERP (the one below the CPS is the University of Ediinburgh School of Engineering). Note, these are quite old results (pre-Christmas 2012) and thankfully at least one of the sites responded to our notification and has addressed the issue. Sadly, many other site owners that we’ve contacted haven’t fixed their sites.

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