Solution To The Link Spam Injection Hacking Attack And Reconsideration Requests To Google.
Lately one of our sites got hacked with an unusual kind of link spam injection attack. The hacker injected a code whereby multiple no. of pages were created for our site and those pages were linked by spammy sites and over a period of 15 -20 days there were nearly 17,000+ spammy inbound links injected to our site from 3 sites.
To our utter dismay, as a result of so many inbound links to the site in such a short span of time, made Google take manual action and the site was removed from the Google index.
This was a massive blow for the targeted traffic which we were getting from Google for that site. Now if the site is hacked we know, that it happens and that we have to delete the previous files and restore the backup . But the main problem was that even if we follow all the steps to restore the previous version of the site – what would happen to the inbound links as we cannot possibly manually or by any other way remove those inbound links.
We sent a reconsideration request to Google from our WMT account stating the problem and the nature of the hacking attack was also mentioned along with the 3 sites from which we wanted to disown the inbound links and requested Google to remove them from our list of webmaster tools external links and then kept our fingers crossed and hoped and prayed that the action would be taken.
We sent the reconsideration request on the 17th of October 2011 and we received a reply on the 25th of October 2011 as follows:
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www……./,
We received a request from a site owner to reconsider http://…….. for compliance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Previously the webspam team had taken manual action on your site because we believed it violated our quality guidelines. After reviewing your reconsideration request, we have revoked this manual action. It may take some time before our indexing and ranking systems are updated to reflect the new status of your site. Of course, there may be other issues with your site that could affect its ranking without a manual action by the webspam team. Google’s computers determine the order of our search results using a series of formulas known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking can happen as we make updates to present the best results to our users. If your site continues to have trouble in our search results, please see this article for help with diagnosing the issue.
Thank you for helping us to maintain the quality of our search results.
Google Search Quality Team
Such an experience proves that every problem gives you an opportunity to learn something new and if you are open about it you do find a solution and Google is willing to help if you are honest and open about it.
We would like to thank Google for such a prompt reply and considering our request and helping us coming out of the mess created by some spammy attackers for us.
We would like to thank the spammers also for giving us an opportunity to learn about how to solve such an issue and are very happy to share the experience with you.