Competition in search marketing can be tough. Regardless of number of businesses/products/services relevant to a specific keyword there is only one top position and unless it’s your site at the top you miss out on the hefty share of the search traffic generated by that keyword. The lower the result is displayed the less attention it gets.
Even if you are in “business” of black hat SEO and can use whatever dirty tricks you like, you still can’t guarantee the top position for the most popular keywords since there are already many established reputable sites and other black hats competing for the same keywords. But if you can’t always get the top position, you can still try to make your results look more attractive than the rest and increase their click through rate, right? Right! And this post will be about one of such tricks
Only a few hours after the Friday’s 8.9 earthquake and the consequent tsunami hit Japan, security researchers noticed many poisoned Google search results for this news related searches that redirected web surfers to fake antivirus sites.
This situation nothing new. We’ve seen similarly poisoned search results for Haitian earthquake a year ago, for the recent New Zealand’s earthquake, for last year’s floods in Pakistan, etc.
Many people use search engines to find details about breaking news such as natural disasters, catastrophes, accidents, etc. Such hardly predictable events, have literally zero relevant results before they happen, so during the first few hours after the event almost any site with relevant information have good chances to rank high on Google. This short window when competition is quite light is all cyber-criminal need to have a steady traffic to their breaking new related doorway pages. Then, when every news site and blog add their 2 cents and there are plenty resources about those hot topics, only most reputable and most relevant web pages make it to the top of search results.
I decided to check the poisoned search results and here’s what I found:
In this post, I’ll show how cybercriminals used hacked high-profile sites to drive search traffic to online stores that sell pirated copies of popular software and, presumably, steal credit card details.
I’ve been watching this sort of search spam for more than a year now. And after this post in Google’s Webmaster Help forum, I decided to take a closer look at this this problem.