How to Defend your Website against SERP Hacking

A continual threat to business owners and webmasters alike is site hacking. How to deal with SERP, or search engine results page hacking continues to present business owners with challenges.

SERP hacking occurs when a hacker chooses to insert links and keywords that point to a particular business that the hacker wishes to get a high rank for. More specifically, a hacker gains access to a business owner’s site and then inserts links and keywords that point to the hacker’s business site. Probably the most frightening thing about SERP hacking is that a business owner won’t even know their site has been hacked, as this type of hacking doesn’t alter how a website looks.

The result of a successful SERP hacking exploit is that the victim site loses a lot of search engine traffic. As well, a victim’s site can also be subjected to Google penalties. Both of these instances can see a site owner losing a lot of time and money in order to reclaim their previous rankings and standing. However, there are ways to prevent as well as stop SERP hacking in its tracks, well before Google can penalise a site.

SERP Hacking Tactics to watch out for:

Parasite Hosting

Parasite hosting occurs when a hacker hosts their web page on a server without having obtained permission. The hacker points the hijacked domain to a site they wish to be promoted, thereby boosting that site in search engine results. The hacker’s page ‘feeds’ off the high ranking of a domain.

Google Bombing

Google bombing, often used in conjunction with parasite hosting involves the linking of a site with the same anchor text to one URL using several domains. This results in a high ranking of the link and keyword chosen by the hacker.

How Hackers Gain Access

Hackers obtain access to victim sites by stealing login information, or exposing vulnerabilities in the plugins or widgets you may have installed on your site.

Solutions for Stopping SERP Hacking

Setting a Google Alert to tell you when Google indexed new content is a good way to keep an eye on anything that may be suspicious. Simply insert your domain name into the ‘site:’ field, and choose the ‘as it happens’ option for instant notification and review.

Google Webmaster Tools can also help. This will allow you to be notified by email should Google detect a hacking attempt.

Blocking your Word Press login by selecting specific IP addresses can protect you against SERP hacking, as it will block automated login attempts. Another prevention method for WordPress is to ensure that any plugins you use are trusted ones. This can be discovered by searching for developer and user comments and ratings for the app.

Automatic daily web site backups can ensure a quick recovery in the event your site gets hacked. And finally, ensuring you have a firewall for your web site can go a long way to preventing SERP hacking attempts. This plugin can be installed, activated and configured from the CMS dashboard.