Tag Archives: mistakes

Google WMC says you have malware!

Its scary and what does it mean?

So, you get an alert inside Google’s own webmaster central. If you are not fully technical what do you do?
Well you need to find out if it is real to start with. If you search around, the information including the G’s own FAQ say to look inside Webmaster Central.

Google WMC malware alert

Google WMC malware alert

It warns you that your server is affected and it will display a warning in the SERPs that will effectively kills your traffic and therefore business!!

Google Warning on your SERPs

They do link to a site called Stop Badware which has some useful tips.

This site has the most common scenarios and suggestions on what to do. It is not fully comprehensive and if you have technical people in your organisation, I suggest you get them involved immediately.

But worth a read as it has tips on identifying, removing and preventing malware.

The 3 most common things to look for:

Malicious scripts
These can either redirect users or force malware into a users browser. These can be in the code or even in images or stored assets e.g. .pdf, jpgs etc etc. They are often set up to look very similar to regular code, maybe with a type-o. And can commonly only have a pointer in the code, that pulls the badware from another location on your server (which is hidden deeper) or from an external source.

.httpaccess redirects
This is a common way of managing redirects and if hacked this could send your site visitors to another location for the badies own ends.

Hidden iFrames
An iframe is a way of pulling in another webpage and loading it on to the page. If a hacker gets an iframe to open inside your site, your user could be infected. They may not even show up, but just load in the background.

The suggestion is to use this URL to find out more information. Just replace your own URL at the end.

http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=www.adrianland.co.uk

You will see a set of screens like these:

Google diagnostic screen

Google diagnostic screen

This is a relatively clean screen. But recently, I have had this twice. Once for a small community site and yesterday at my day job. You can click on the information and it gives you more examples. Through the AS records and even at a site name level. Luckily in both these recent cases, it has actually been another site who uses a shared service. Either shared hosting or a shared CDN. Therefore, just request a review.

But what to do if you are infected?
Well this depends on your skills. In all scenarios you need to remove the malware form your site (if you are actually infected). So, either remove the code and/or if it is a hosting company that are useless, maybe move your site. Then definately work on your security. Do you upgrades, either your CMS, your admin and passwords, or update your server security. And I will leave others who are far better qualified to discuss that. Then request a reinclusion review.

Relevance over ccTLDs

So, relevance wins over TLDs.  Who would have guessed !?

As part of the caffeine update, lots of us saw many .com’s appearing over the top of co.uk’s etc etc.  If you mix the Vince update with Caffeine you get a wired Vince and dot coms able to rank when the previous ground swell of talking heads was you must have a ccTLDs otherwise you would fail in regional Googles.

Oh well.  Here it from the man himself in this YouTube video.  <smug>Supports some of my current projects</smug>

12 common SEO mistakes

adrianland - seo list to do

Its strange how many times when looking at a site professionally or just surfing that I notice basic optimisation errors. Some of these are through lack of knowledge. Done quickly. Done by a developer who did not realise that they could SEO optimise or using a tool that builds those errors in there for you. I have been guilty of some/all of these at one point or another. Mainly on my own play sites and luckily not in my day job.

So, here is a list of my starting 12, can you think of any more school boy errors?

1. Keywords

By guessing / assuming that you know the right words to optimise for. Thinking you know how your audience behaves. Some basic research, planning would avoid this so easy to make mistake.

2. Meta title & Description

We all know the Meta title still has a small place in optimisation. Even if it didn’t then it is very, oh so very needed in your marketing. So, you have got your top 10 listing in Google. You’ve worked hard. You’ve even got the right keyword and you have a high position. But if your snippet is rubbish, no-one is going to click through to your site!

3. Graphics (or Flash) instead of text, especially in Headers and Navigation

They may look better but using these technologies but unless you make alternative arrangements the spiders wont be able to find all your good content. Dont forget about accessibility. You can optimise images and Flash – you just need to think about it.

4. Javascript – especially on navigation

The oldest way in the book on how to prevent most spiders for being able to follow your links. There are other ways now to make your navigation and links behave in the visual way you want. Just need to think.

5. Content and a lack of….

The good old days of putting up a site, a picture of two on a keyword rich domain name are gone ! More and more “new” SE’s are telling us that they are actually trying to judget the value of the page by whats on it aswell!

6. Lack of quality inc tpyos

Assuming you have choosen the correct keywords, and you have a good design. And you have managed to get people to come to you site. If you have bad mistakes, errors, bad internal links or inconsistent you will loose the users trust. So, if you selling an expensive service or product, you are not going to make that sale. Think of the high street. You dont got into some shops because you dont like the look of them. Plus, if you keywords are spelt wrong – you are not optimised!

7. Internal links

Achitecture and data hierarchy. This can be as simple as ensure all your pages are linked up correctly with half decent anchor text. And onpage you use structured mark-up correct, e.g. the H1, H2 and P tags etc. This should be best practice and is obvious once you know about it!

8. URLs and consistency of

Sessions ID’s and autoupdates. Or/and the use of content based attributes used in your URLs can change your URLs all the time. This is bad if your internal linking breaks. But also if you are lucky enough that other think your site is good enough and link to you and you move the page ! then you get no benefit. If you make this mistake it is unlikely that you will be able to handle the error gracefully.

9. Duplicate content

An ‘emotional’ topic. In short this is bad. There are two types. 1) Accidental and 2) Malicious.

Accidental happens a lot – quite often with out realising. See another post on this site for some more details. This can be as simple as a PDF file download aswell as having a html page or boiler plate text on paginated search results.

Then malious duplication – trying to cheat – just straigh bad.

10. Same meta on every page

Very easy to do. Especially if you are using some kind of header that overrides the page level. Or you just havent spent any time to give them a unique title. Google actually diagnoses this for you in their webmaster tools. Use it. It is worth it.

11. Hidden content

If you want to rank against your content dont put in it secure areas. I mean subscriptions businesses or areas for customers. Generally SE’s dont go looking in https or secure areas. So, if you are using content to rank – then put it in a public place.

12. Multiple sites – bad domain management

You may own many sites and may not of even looked at them for ages. They are sitting in your account gathering dust. You may be doing great things on-and-off-site but if you are having all your domains pointing to your main site you may in effect be making duplicates etc.

So, be aware of some relatively simple things that can accidently affect your chances of SEO success.