In digital marketing and online advertising, Spamdexing or SEO spam is one of the most common hacks to increase search engine ranking. A report released by Sucuri disclosed that over half of sites hacked in 2018 were used by hackers for SEO reasons. These hacks targeted web sites in order to manipulate the success of a site’s SEO campaign and boost its ranking in Google, Bing or other search engines.
What is SEO spam?
Search engine spam or Spamdexing is an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings and generate traffic which is used later to fuel a scam designed by bad actors.
To do this, threat actors gain access to a normal, healthy website and then inject keywords and links intended to lure traffic to different scams. This practice tricks unsuspecting users who believe that they are visiting a real website to purchase orders but end up getting scammed.
Types of SEO spam
Search engine spam can be executed through:
By gaining access to a legit website and injecting links and keywords, bad actors create a path to their scammy websites. Rather than getting ranked the way most legit websites do, bad actors piggyback off a normal site’s credibility to get a rank on search engines.
How to stay safe from SEO spam?
Spamdexing is always a threat to website owners. So, it is necessary to fend off hackers hijacking the websites. Some of the best practices include:
Run updates - It is recommended to keep plugins and other website applications updated with the latest security patches. Ignoring updates can leave the entire site wide-open for an SEO spam infection.
Create strong passwords - Using strong and unpredictable passwords, especially to protect access to sensitive areas of the site is very important.
Scan regularly - Scanning websites on a regular basis help owners to figure out and understand security issues in the websites. Too often, owners have no they have been hacked until penalties happen and in turn also lose credibility on search engines.
Use a firewall - A web application firewall (WAF) is an absolute solution to prevent a search engine spam infection. It protects websites from unknown threats while speeding up the efficiency.