Monday, September 7, 2009

Black Hat SEO reality check


Problem

Lately one of our main websites, Dell webstore http://shop.it.ee/ disappeared from the Google index. This is quite a tragedy, as significant part of customers are coming via Google search. We have been optimised our webshop to google and were quite upset when it all happened. Checking Google Webmaster Tools didn't make us any wiser. No glue of any severe violation of Google rules whatsoever!

Investigation

Few days later we got info, that our CMS (content managament system) parner www.sisuhaldus.ee had done some Black Hat actions in another project. And voilà! I appeared, that our IT Grupp corporate website, http://www.it.ee/, whitch was not earlier constantly monitored by Google Analytics and SEO Tools, contains hidden links, seeded by our CMS partner. Why We didn't monitor it? Cause Corporate websitee is not our sales tool and we really expect only few visitors to this site. Appeared, that Google banned all ???.it.ee domains, also our web-commerce site http://shop.it.ee/ .

Hidden code was inside of CMS:

background="gfx/it/box_bottom_bg.png" width=100% class=small style="padding-left:61px"> class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt">size="2">IT Grupp on terviklikke IT-lahendusi pakkuv infotehnoloogiafirma. Meie eesmärgiks on olla oma klientide jaoks parim IT partner. size="2">Meie teenused katavad it infrastruktuuri e. riistvara ja tarkvara müügi, infotehnoloogia hoolduse, it alased ärikonsultatsioonid. Meie missiooniks on tõsta kliendi konkurentsivõimet infotehnoloogiliste lahenduste abil võimaldades tal keskenduda täielikult oma põhitegevusele. IT Grupi eesmärgiks on aru saada kliendi äriprotsessidest ja vastavalt sellele tarnida lahendus. href="http://www.kaust.ee/">style="font-size:5px;visibility:hidden">Mündid href="http://www.sisuhaldus.ee/?go=sisuhaldustarkvara">style="font-size:5px;visibility:hidden">Sisuhaldustarkvara href="http://www.parim.ee/?go=post">color="#ffffff">style="font-size:5px;visibility:hidden">postiindeksid

So, problem detected, how to get rid of it?

1. add Your site to Analytics and Google Webmaster SEO Tools
2. remove all incompliances
2. report to Google
3. monitor Google Analytics and SEO tools

Aftermath

We lost customer traffic from Google from July 17 to August 17, exactly 1 month. First week we just didn't know that we have such problem. About two weeks we identified the problem and removed prohibited code, 1 week was Googles time to react to our allication.

We knew, that hiden code is often in free Wordpress templates and other free templates, but We really did't expect such a mis-behavior from our web partner www.sisuhaldus.ee. Not recommended by us anymore.