Local SEO Spam: How to Find and Fight Back

SEO Spam is also known as spamdexing and a form of search engine spamming. SEO spam includes a number of methods, such as link building and duplicating unrelated phrases, to manipulate the relevance or reputation of search terms indexed. It’s an attempt to alter search engine rankings so that website traffic is redirected to a scam, SEO spam are usually designed by a hacker. Hackers acquire access to a normal and healthy website, then implant keywords and links to another website which is designed to deceive people.

By attaining access to credible websites and injecting links and keywords, hackers create a direct path to their scam websites. These hackers are piggybacking on your legitimate website ranking to get noticed and they don’t want to do the work it takes to legitimately obtain a place in the SERPs.

Types of SEO Spam

1.      Unusual links

Links are very important to scammers. Without the links, there is no way to drive traffic to their fraud website.

2.      Questionable keywords

When suspicious keywords appear in the content of a legitimate website, search engines recognise that it’s safe to index the site for those terms. When people search online—for internet service, IT services, SEO services, loan services, etc.—search results often contain scams where the clients pays for something she never receives.

3.      Suspicious ads

Often a hacked website includes banner ads or calls to action (CTAs) that directs traffic to their scam website.

4.      Fishy posts and pages

One of the worst examples is when a reliable site already has a good search engine ranking, the hackers will create fake posts and pages dedicated to ranking for a dubious search term.

Protect Website from SEO Spam

Spamdexing is always a threat for all IT services website however, the best way to defend your site from these hackers is by strictly following these best practices:

1.      Run updates

Regularly update your plugins and themes. Always update the security patches to keep hackers out. Negligence with updates and your website has a wide open backdoor for SEO spamdexing.

Remember that building a lot of links takes time. Be patient and remember that buying links are against Google’s guidelines and can be devastating for your SEO.

2.      Strong passwords

Easy passwords like pass1234 or 0000 is so easy to remember, however they are also too easy to guess. Make sure to create strong passwords to protect your website. Consider these tips when creating a strong password:

  • Make it long
  • Use a mix of characters
  • Avoid common substitutions (i.e. DOORBELL or D00R8377)
  • Don’t use memorable keyboard paths (i.e. qwerty)

3.      Strong usernames

Never use the word ‘admin’ or ‘administrator’ as your username.

  • Pick a username that you can remember.
  • Make it simple. Refrain from using too many symbols or upper- and lower-case letters.
  • Decide if you want to be anonymous. On some sites, user name will appear next to your posts.
  • Think carefully. Don’t be hasty in choosing your username because you may not be able to change it later.

4.      Use a firewall

A web application firewall is a must-have, if you really want to protect your website from hackers. Firewall protects you by updating definitions of known threats, kind of like a bouncer at a bar.

Best practices for network firewall configuration

a)      Block traffic by default

Monitor who can access your network by blocking all traffic by default for this can prevent any security breaches.

b)      Configuration change plan

Network’s firewall needs to be updated from time to time. This is to ensure that the firewall is still working against new threats. Here are the basic features of a clear change management plan:

  • Detailed changes and objectives.
  • List of risks which is due to the policy changes, impacts on the network, and a mitigation plan to reduce the risks.
  • Clear structure of workflow between the network teams.
  • Accurate documentation like who made the change, why, and when.

c)      Optimise Firewall rules

Declutter Your firewall rule base from redundant elements, duplicates, or bloated unnecessary rules that cause the guidelines complicated and less effective.

Here’s some guide to help you clean your firewall rule base:

  • Remove redundant or duplicate rules that slow down the firewall performance.
  • Delete the rules that are obsolete.
  • Eliminate shadowed rules that are unnecessary.
  • Discard conflicting rules.
  • Remove all errors in the rules that may result in malfunctions.

d)      Regularly Update

Check from time to time if the firewall software is updated to the latest version.

e)      Conduct regular audits

IT security administrators must conduct a regular security audits to ensure that there’s no unauthorised changes in the firewall.

f)      Automate updating

An automated system can schedule an update to reduce need for human involvement and keeps the firewall secure.

5.      Scan regularly

Always scan your website for SEO spam and others problems so you’ll be aware of it and to resolve it.

6.      Backed up your site

If you do get hacked, it’s a good idea to have a backup.

Consider some tips to back up your site:

A healthy link profile indicates that the search engines are earning links and authority. Always strive to ensure link profile is honest and earned via good, old-fashioned hard work.

  • Back up a WordPress website with a plugin
  • Back up your website through your host
  • Manually backup your website to a cloud storage

7.      Hire someone if you don’t know how to do it

The most important best practice on the list is to hire an expert to protect your website. If you don’t know how to do all this or won’t do it on a regular basis, hire someone to maintain these best practices to fight SEO spam.

One piece of advice from Roc Pro—a SEO agency in London—be patient. Removing SEO spam can take time. If you’re infected, fix it now and protect your prospective clients and your reputation. And if you’re secured from SEO spam, always do the best practices to protect your interests.

Take note that there’s no such thing as a completely secure site, however if your website is up-to-date, practice long and random passwords, or, has a 2-Factor Authentication, the chances of being hacked are reduced.

We hope that this article has been helpful in securing your website and helps make the internet a safer place for everyone.

Contact us now for a free SEO audit.