Recent updates within Google may mean that using secure CMS and proper SEO strategies are now more important than ever.

Earlier this month, Google announced a 32% increase in hacked sites in 2016 that has been attributed to two main reasons. Hackers are now getting more aggressive than ever, with more technologies and ways to weave their way through security holes on web and search engines. Secondly, website owners are not keeping track of their sites and content management systems, allowing them to become out of date. This presents more security holes that’s every hackers dream!

3 most popular hacks that you should be aware of are:

  1. The Gibberish Hack: This hack occurs when the hacker creates many pages filled with keywords on the targeted website. Then, when people try to visit the website they are redirects to completely unrelated websites, generally adult sites.
  2. Japanese Keywords Hack: This hack creates random new pages on your website with affiliate links to stores selling fake brand merchandise.
  3. Cloaked Keywords Hack: This hack is perhaps the most difficult to recognise as the pages are created incorporating the basic layout of your original site. Here hackers manipulate ‘cloaking’ techniques to bury harmful and malicious content within links or images in your website.

What can you do to protect your site?

  • Verify your Website: If you haven’t already, you should verify your website on Google’s search console as soon as possible. It’s free and extremely useful in the event of a hack as Google will notify you as soon as the hack occurs.

  • Check your CMS: It’s important that you have an updated and secure Content Management System that hosts your website. If your current CMS has prevalent security holes, then hackers will easily be able to weave their way into your website. This is why Quantum uses the most secure and up-to-date CMS to create and design our websites.

In other News:

  • Google broadens AdWords Search results – Google recently announced its plan to further dilute ad word variants, meaning ads will now be matched and displayed for broader search results. In its first introduction of close variants in 2012, Google enabled AdWords to capture search variants such as plurals, typos, abbreviations, adverbs and other keyword versions. This allowed Google advertisers to broaden search reach and increase coverage without wasting time building keywords. Close variants will now be broadened further to include variations in word order and function words. Function words are binding words such as; the, that, and, but, all, could, would, will etc. Early tests have indicated that Google advertisers may notice up to a 3% increase in match clicks.
  • Google Short Cuts – Earlier this month, Google rolled up ‘tappable shortcuts’ on both their mobile site and app platforms on iOS and Android interfaces. These shortcuts provide users with a fast and easy way to access information like news, sports, weather and entertainment. In future, businesses can capitalise on this feature through shortcuts to nearest restaurants, businesses, reviews etc. In its initial stage, this new feature is only available to US users.

  • Fred Algorithm Update – Googles latest algorithm update on March 7th/8th has seen a drop in many website rankings. However, this update seems to be targeting sites with low value content paired with the narrow goal of revenue generation. Thus reviewing both your current website content strategies and Googles webmaster guidelines is highly recommended to keep your website rankings up.