Are Phishing Websites On The Rise?
Phishing websites search results appears to be on the rise. I've been doing some client work this morning around a particular long-tail keyword phrase, and I'm going deep - 15 to 20 pages down in search results - and I'm seeing a pattern. Let's take a look at what I've found so you don't stumble into these.
Phishing Websites Search Results Pattern
Take a look at the screen shot below. Do you see any patterns? I do! Let's go over them:
Page title tag (Red arrow) - I was looking for websites that talk about the advantages of taking an online nutrition course. Notice how these page titles have nothing to do with my keyword phrase query?
Ratings (blue arrow) - next, see how all three have rating schema (markup) applied, and every one is 5 stars? That should raise a red flag right there.
Time period (red oval) - now, see how everyone has a date of one day ago? How strange is that? Very.
Odd snippets or meta descriptions (red underline) - finally, look at the snippets, or meta descriptions. See how they really have nothing to do with anything? Also, look at the second one. Using the keyword "viagra" is a popular spam tactic to help a page rank higher than it deserves, and is out of context with page title. The third one contains gibberish, another popular spam process.
When I tried to click on each one, look at what my anti-virus software came back with:
Phishing websites will try to fool you into giving up personal information, including passwords. They look a helluva lot like legit websites.
Here is some information from Yahoo! (yeah, I know...Yahoo, but hey, it's a good article)
What does this have to do with SEO? If your site (or your client's) falls victim to this, you need to recognize it, get it cleaned up and safe for users again to rank in search results. Your traffic will fall off the cliff if searchers click on your results in Google and see this. They will never, ever, NEVER try to access your site again.
If you use Google Search Console, there's a good chance you'll get a warning in the Security section of your dashboard. If you do, get the web dev team and IT personnel to tackle this. They'll need to isolate the site and clean it up. I guarantee your traffic and page counts will go zero faster than you can think about it. If you have an e-commerce site, this will kill sales.
Want to learn more about advanced SEO and other spam tactics? Take our advanced SEO training class, and we'll go over all the tactics and Black Hat SEO, so you recognize it for what it is.
Until we meet again, stay safely between the ditches!
All the very best to you,
Screenshots courtesy of author, December 2017