Joseph_Jones

Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Recently, one of my client's websites started ranking for a whole bunch of keywords related to "essays". We've never written content on essays so I started thinking "what on earth, Google?". I then checked to see if this was legit, so I went to the SERPs using the keyword. Come to find out, there was a URL from my client's site ranking for the keyword. I looked further and the URL slug isn't something that I recognized. So, wondering why my client is ranking, I clicked on the link. I was then redirected to another website, one of which I am unfamiliar with.

This appears to be a spam (or hack?) issue. My client's site runs off of Wordpress. I checked and the page doesn't exist on my website. So, does anybody know what could be happening here and if there's a way to mitigate this issue with Google's indexing?

The page that's ranking, doesn't exist. I'm ranking for keywords, which I don't want to be ranking for. When clicking the URL, the user is redirected to an entirely different website.

I thought that this might be the use of a canonical tag feeding false information to Google. However, I'm stumped. Any advice would be terrific!
 

Joseph_Jones

Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
3
Sounds like a hack to me. Try running it thru this test: Sucuri Security
Rich,

I ran it through the test and the "essay" pages were found. It didn't detect any malware, spam, or hacking activity. However, I'm seeing a "security header" error. Most likely, I just need a stronger firewall. Thanks for sending this over to me, I'll continue looking into my security.
 

Greg Schueler

Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
148
Reaction score
66
Sounds like a typical hack and that your WordPress site has been compromised.
The codes and the injected malware on the backend are sometimes hard to notice as the hackers are good at hiding it and only showing it to certain viewers.

If there are a lot of spam pages indexed in Google, it will take some work to get things back in shape, but it is doable. You can do a Google search for: site:domainname.com (use your domain name after site:) and you will see how many pages the hackers have indexed on your site. This can get to the 10s of thousands if not stopped early.

For clean up, you will need to scan and clean all impacted files on the server. There is a plugin called "GOTMLS" that is great at scanning the site and will find a lot of the files. (Wordfence is good to, but usually is better at prevention and doesn't always find all the infected files after the fact). Once you get the results from GOTMLS you can see the patter and look for similar files on the server.

When you see all the plugins/themes/WP files that are infected, it is easier to delete those completely and re-install a fresh copy of each. Or you can manually scrub each file as needed.

You should then change all passwords, including database password. Make sure all plugins/theme are up to date with latest versions so this doesn't happen again.

Then you will need to check Google Search Console to see if the hackers have gained access there and submitted a second Sitemap. If so delete it and the user. Create a new clean Sitemap on your site and submit that. If GSC has flagged your site as hacked, you can submit for a review, but it doesn't sound like they have flagged it yet.

== That is the short overview of hack repair. There are deeper instructions/detail for each part, but this should point you in the right direction.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
JoyHawkins Google Issues Warning to Business Owners to Stop Spamming Google My Business & Google Maps 1
Linda Buquet Post update about photo guidelines - Post about new review spam issues Recycle Bin 0
W Located in issues NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 3
JamesGreenaway Map pin showing competitor and also direction issues Google My Business & Google Maps 3
E Issues with managing business pages on Facebook Citations 3
dateinadash Will changing https:// to https://www cause an issue with rankings? Organic SEO 3
dateinadash This location has been suspended due to quality issues - going round in circles! Please help? Google My Business & Google Maps 2
NevenaIvanova Brand Visibility Issue Caused by Building Entity Google My Business & Google Maps 2
J ISSUE: We are not accepting new registrations Contact Us Messages 1
djbaxter Warning issued to adta Warnings and Bans 0
A Google My Business Provider Program API Access İssues Recycle Bin 0
AndiFox GSC issues? (Flatliners) Local Search 2
djbaxter Warning issued to TraceyTaylorwnS Warnings and Bans 0
H Issues with downloading locations - bulk verified account Google My Business & Google Maps 2
djbaxter Warning issued to blanka_polkadot Warnings and Bans 0
C Issue on Mobile Forum Tech Support 1
A Big Issue with Google Map Rankings For Everyone Local Search 9
PKLilikoi "Redirect Notice" in Google causing Toxic Link issue in Tools Organic SEO 3
W Listing Claiming Issue Google Local 101 6
L Issues With Bulk Verification for Enterprise Organization Multi-Location Issues 1
djbaxter Warning issued to FatSniper Warnings and Bans 0
rossdunn Odd Issue with Practitioner Listing All Things Google My Business [PRIVATE] (LocalU) 3
JoyHawkins [Technical Issue] Don't Change the Address on Service Area Business Listings Google News: Important Changes & Features 5
NickB-Tampa Issues with transferring GMB listings Google My Business & Google Maps 2
melinaedealer Separate Department Listing Issues Multi-Location Issues 2
J Advice Needed - GMB Listing Visibility Issues Help & Support for Google Local 7
JillH Multiple Location Issue Local Search 3
STM Google My Business Duplicate Listing Removal and Dashboard Issue Google My Business & Google Maps 6
RattlingTram Issues with ranking clent's business CONSISTENTLY Help & Support for Google Local 2
djbaxter Warning issued to leave.review Warnings and Bans 0
djbaxter Warning issued to Alceo 1 Warnings and Bans 0
djbaxter Warning issued to Nick 11 Warnings and Bans 0
djbaxter Warning issued to diptimayee Warnings and Bans 0
spacetuna Do I have a NAP issue? NAP, Categories, Dashboard Data 9
djbaxter Warning issued to vivekrpatel Warnings and Bans 0
djbaxter Ban issued to user aalmarusy Warnings and Bans 0
djbaxter Warning issued to quartercheapersigns Warnings and Bans 0
djbaxter Ban issued to user Dimitri Warnings and Bans 0
djbaxter Ban issued to user Dimitri Warnings and Bans 0
djbaxter Warning issued to Valentin Warnings and Bans 0
hajnasiewicz Issues with multiple domain redirects to one domain? Websites, Software, and Security 4
djbaxter Warning issued to Nick 11 Warnings and Bans 0
djbaxter New Mobile Usability Issues Detected Mobile & Social 4
djbaxter Warning issued to Forseti Warnings and Bans 0
MattF Ranking issue Ask a LocalU Expert [PRIVATE] (LocalU) 6
djbaxter Ban issued to user polos001 Warnings and Bans 0
B Google Search Console Security Issue Local Search 10
J Filter Issue with Smart Campaign? Help & Support for Google Local 4
S GMB Bulk Upload issue - Offers Multi-Location Issues 0
djbaxter Warning issued to HelenaKaur Warnings and Bans 0

Similar threads

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

Most UpVoted Answers

Trending: Most Viewed

LocalU Podcasts

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Google Product Exert


Top Bottom