hacked my site for an SEO black hat link


So yesterday I noticed some really nasty and well hidden copy with a number of embedded links at the bottom of the home page of my personal blog. If you look at the very bottom it may still be there but in case you have removed it recently – it stated the following:

Helpful essay writing reviews with a discount. We ll make your paper fast – . Cool essay writing debate made by experienced uk teachers –

Needless to say this copy was nothing to do with me, and the very fact it is hidden right at the bottom and written in a similar colour to my background (obviously to avoid detection – see image and the dark blue link) was pretty clever but also extremely unprofessional and really pretty rude. Does the boss know you are doing this regularly?

essay writingAs a digital PR consultant I don’t really have much call for essay writing if I am honest but I can see why a link from my blog on social media and digital communications could pass on some authority and give your SEO a boost. I would be amazed if the owners of your company really did know this practice was taking place and would like to know who was responsible for hacking my site and placing it on here. Whoever it is you should be really proud of yourself as you now have your very own blog post all about the brand now too – hurray what a result the boss will be thrilled I am sure!

I know WordPress is pretty open to hackers but I have found this practice really, really odd and extremely unprofessional. I can’t believe there are still SEO practitioners out there hacking sites inserting fake links just to get their clients further up Google rankings. Let’s hope Google reads this post and penalise you for it.

If the company involved would like to contact me on here in the comments and let me know how I can remove their text that would be useful.

Finally, as a huge fan of all things digital and SEO I read a lot of blogs from experts in this area such as Cyrus Shephard and Danny Dover and obviously Matt Cutts I would like them to let me know what they think about this kind of practice? I can’t believe good quality SEO experts would.

Are black hat tactics like this still actually widespread and does this affect/ruin the reputation of good quality SEO practitioners like yourselves?

I suppose I am kind of asking if the SEO industry needs PR practitioners to manage their industries reputation? You guys need to get rid of poor SEO businesses that do things like this as its shameful behaviour. I have worked with some great SEO guys who really know their stuff and I thought things had moved on significantly in the last five years. I obviously know SEO is moving more towards my area of expertise like online PR but I can’t believe companies in the modern era still think they need to hack sites to rank properly. Surely, they realise they will get found out.

Here’s a crazy idea for you – why not write something interesting and build some real relationships with real people instead of filling the internet with utter crap packed with keywords and links to pointless junk that never gets read?

Let me know what you think of this practice in the comments.

Posted By Chris Norton

Chris is listed in the world's top 30 PR bloggers and a regular conference speaker on crisis management and social media marketing. He is also co-author of Share This Too and lectures on digital communications at Leeds Metropolitan University.


Cyrus Shepard

Hi Chris,

Unfortunately these types of things are pretty common. The types of hackers that typically hack your site are not into long term investments in thier business, but more of a turn-and-burn style operation, and are usually almost impossible to track down.

The best thing you can do is clean up your site yourself (trust me, the hackers are not going to do it for you – in fact, they probably don’t know you exist) and check with Google Webmaster Tools for any malware warnings and take the appropriate steps.

If you need professional help, the folks at Securi do a great job with this type of thing

There are also a number of WordPress plugins that can help prevent hacking in the future.

Regardless, I would take action to clean this up because it could hurt your organic visibility and reflect poorly on your website in general. It’s a huge pain.

Anyway, to answer your question about this type of practice: hackers do it at scale (think 1000s of sites at once) every week in hope of gaining a few rankings. The rankings are usually short lived, but if they keep the cycle up they can sometimes turn a profit. Google is getting better at detecting these types of link schemes, but we don’t live in an ideal world yet.

Best of luck with your site. Cheers.

Chris Norton

Hi Cyrus,

Thanks for the advice I use Wordfence and I will run a check on the security. I will see if I ever get a response from the company itself. It’s sad to see behaviour like this you would have thought these types of businesses only last a short period and they give the industry a bad name. Thanks for the advice I will get it cleaned up today.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.