Archive for the ‘suspicious activity’ tag
You will no doubt be aware that Google is very good at finding pages – even pages you think you have hidden. If you have ever created a test version of a website and shared the link with a few people in your small circle, chances are that the Google spider has come knocking to see what the link is about.
You probably know how to view your website’s appearance in Google by searching for site:www.yoursite.com – bringing up a list of all the pages in Google’s index for that domain.
Now try typing this search query into Google: +site:test.*.co.uk. You will see a list of all pages from all .co.uk websites that use “test” as a subdomain. Try the same thing with a few other common words as subdomains.
If you want to check your own website for subdomains but also want to exclude the www from the results, try this search string: -site:www.yoursite.co.uk +site:*.yoursite.co.uk. This will exclude all www results and include any results from any other subdomain.
If you are surprised to find you do have a test site in the Google index or any other duplicate site on a different subdomain, your SEO efforts will be negatively impacted by the duplicate content, and possibly content that is perhaps full of partially complete content and broken links.
The best thing to do is to use a 301 redirect in your htaccess file to bounce the subdomain to the proper website – thus passing some page rank to the proper site, then if you still need to have a test site, set up a brand new subdomain that is not so easy to guess, with robots.txt blocking access to the search spiders so the site won’t be indexed.
One word of warning.If you try too many odd searches, Google might pop up a form asking you to verify yourself and saying it has detected suspicious activity, so don’t get carried away and don’t let your coffee get cold.
Last week while I was in Stockholm for a speaking gig, my friend Steve Johnson sent me an email with the subject line: "Have you been hacked?"
In his email to me, Steve kindly shared a screen grab of a nasty message that popped up when he tried to visit my site. He also pointed me to a Google diagnostics tool that contained all sorts of very bad news.
It looked bad indeed.
But how the heck should I know if I've been hacked? I am clueless when it comes to what's going on under the hood of my site. I hardly know the difference between HTML and LOL. And I'm sitting in a hotel room in Stockholm.
But I do know how important it is to fix an issue like this. Can you imagine the hit on my credibility as a marketing guy if a nasty error message popped up when someone was looking at my site because they might want to hire me to speak? Not to mention what the search engines were doing to me because of the suspicious activity.
So I shot a Twitter DM to Jim Stewart, a Melbourne SEO expert who works with me to make sure that my site is optimized for search engines. Jim was about to go to sleep after a soak in his hot tub and a glass (or two) of McLaren Vale Shiraz but being the responsive guy that he is, Jim jumped to action in real time.
Working with his team early the next morning, Jim quickly isolated the issue as being a hack affecting other sites hosted with GoDaddy like mine. Within hours they had solved the problem and I was back up and running safely.
Not only are Jim and his team genius, they are real-time genius.
If you want to learn about the specifics of the hack, how it was fixed, and the SEO implications of an issue like this, check out Jim's blog post Godaddy Malware – sokoloperkovuskeci.com
Do your suppliers jump out of bed for you?
Do you wake up early for your customers?
I found it interesting that more than 24 hours after my problems were solved, I got an email from GoDaddy support with the subject line "Important Information About Your Hosting Account". The email said that the GoDaddy “Information Security Team detected suspicious activity within my hosting account.” The email outlined what they discovered, how they helped, and actions I needed to take.
Too late, GoDaddy, Jim already solved the problem.
How quickly are you fixing customer issues? After all, we are living in a real-time world.