SEO News Roundup: Bait & Switch Hacking On The Rise

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Tom Williams looks at the latest search engine optimisation news, including reports that bait & switch hacking is seeing a comeback, why you should optimise not only your site but all external web properties and what has happened to Google’s ‘No Country Redirection’ feature?

Be Aware of Bait & Switch Hacking

Is your website suddenly ranking for products or services it doesn’t offer? Be aware – you may be a victim of a bait and switch hack.

Bait and switch hacking has been around for ages, although Google did seem to have beaten the hackers for a while. It has recently returned with a vengeance, especially in the games arena, as Danny Sullivan reported on Search Engine Land.

Bait and switch hacking is when a hacker gains access to a site and begins publishing pages on topics unrelated to that site - downloadable games, for example. The hacker may inject hundreds of pages related to a topic, along with hundreds of links only visible to Google, to manipulate the site’s ranking.

When a browser then clicks on the link they are redirected via JavaScript from the hacked site to another one. The hackers earn money off affiliate fees for the click or may gain from ads on the pages they redirect to.

Take Optimisation Beyond Your Site To Succeed


Dan Bagby explains why optimising your external web properties can help boost your website and your brand strategy in his blog on Search Engine Land.

He recommends optimising your social profiles, your Pinterest board, YouTube channel and Yelp listing to reap quick SEO wins, boost page ranking and elevate your brand authority.

What Happened to Google’s NCR?

Google NCR

Have you been trying to search from outside the US? Google had set up a feature at to allow people to do just that, but it has been reported that this feature is no longer working.

Google’s drop of the ‘No Country Redirection’ has led to complaints from webmasters and speculation that this is another obstacle from Google to prevent non-US searchers searching as if they were in the US. It certainly has similarities to the search location filter Search Engine Land previously reported on.

However, Google’s John Mueller has taken to Twitter to hint that the NCR service will be returned, so watch this space.

Understanding Google’s Quality Rating

Google Search

Google published its Search Quality Raters Guidelines in November 2015. At 160 pages, the report has been well received by the SEO community. However, for those overwhelmed by this weighty SEO tome, Brent Carnduff has condensed his learnings into a 15-point SEO Takeaway.

Read his blog on Search Engine Journal to understand what parameters Google, and its raters, look at when judging ranking elements for sites.

He admits content is still king, but that working to be an expert and building your online and offline reputation are also vital to success.

What Blogs did SEO Practitioners Turn To in 2016?

SEO Review 2015

When SEO professionals take to the internet, what are they searching for? Search Engine Land may have the answer with its Top 10 All Things SEO ranking. The chart lists the top 10 SEO columns of 2015, showing what SEO practitioners were most interesting in learning about.

Top of the SEO Pops was Adam Audette’s blog on how Googlebot crawls JavaScript, followed by Jim Yu’s 5 essential SEO techniques to master in 2015, and Trond Lyngbo’s 10 WordPress SEO Questions.

Algorithm updates, App indexing, YouTube ranking factors and mobile search were also popular reads in 2015.

More Search Engine Optimisation News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO news roundup: Google Shows Favour to HTTPS

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