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Is Link Spam From Our Old Hacked Website Impacting Our New One?

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Is Link Spam From Our Old Hacked Website Impacting Our New One?

Today’s “Ask An SEO” question comes from Yvonne from Whitby, who asks:

“An old website of ours, now deleted, was hacked a while ago. Now, it’s sending thousands of spammy backlinks to our current website with a different but similar domain.

The hacked site no longer exists (the files were all deleted months ago), but we still see tens of thousands of these spammy backlinks to our current site.

I am not an SEO professional, but I have been tasked with managing the website at my company. I use Google Search Console, Ahrefs, and other tools that still show this deleted website’s backlinks.

Can I expect these backlinks to show in the reports? Would link disavows help? Should I be more concerned about spammy links?”

Hi Yvonne,

Great question, and the TL;DR, don’t worry about it or stress over them. It’s an easy fix.

  • Disavow the URL.
  • Ignore the tools.
  • Focus on the things you can control.

If you think there is something more going on, here is where you can report malicious activity and bad practices to Google.

But I don’t think it applies to your situation. This is mainly for other people reading.

Let’s jump into each of the three steps.

Disavow

First, you’ll want to disavow at the domain name level.

Because it is a site that is supposed to be removed, and you did delete, disavow it at the domain level.

This way, you don’t have to look and see if the hack has created more pages or worry there are more links.

The domain name level applies to all pages within the site.

Ignore The Tools

Second, don’t worry about what the tools say.

Tools have lots of fake metrics and are not always accurate.

They’re meant to help you identify some problems, but it stops there.

Each site should be viewed differently. Having thin content on some pages is okay for some sites.

Not all pages are meant to show up in search results.

The tools will flag these as problems and encourage you to build them out.

But that isn’t a good use of your time and can cause cannibalization or overoptimization.

The tools are also not Google, and Google Search Console may not even be accurate or relevant to part of the actual algorithm.

Google has also made massive improvements in recognizing and ignoring link spam from hacked sites.

They may never drop out of the tools or Google Search Console.

That is out of your control. If you disavowed, you’re good to go.

Focus On What You Can Control

Links are something out of your control unless you’re building them.

Instead, focus on actionable items that you can implement.

Are There Problems Your Customers Are Using Your Products Or Services To Solve?

If yes, turn them into blog posts or build product and service pages for them.

When Was The Last Time You Crawled Your Site For Internal Links?

Pages that are supposed to rank could be new, and old internal links can be updated.

New pages are created and can get some “juice” from older blog posts and PDPs (product detail pages).

There could be links off the same words to separate pages, which sends a conflicting signal to search engines. Change them.

Have You Updated Your Schema To Make Sure The Libraries Properly Reflect Your Business?

Maybe you’ve moved to new countries or regions. Check your area served schema for this.

Work On PR And Building Relationships With Journalists And Editors To Get Media Coverage For Your Company

This could result in quality backlinks overpowering the spammy ones and mentions in trusted publications, which helps with E-A-T and conversion rates on your site.

A hacked site spamming links to you from the same domain is nothing to worry about.

If you are, use the disavow tool and try not to stress.

There are plenty of ways to improve any and every site.

Focus on what is in your control, not what is out of it.

Have a question about SEO? Submit via this form


Featured Image: paper cut design/Shutterstock

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Elon Musk Hires Prolific Hacker George Hotz To Fix Twitter Search

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Elon Musk Hires Prolific Hacker George Hotz To Fix Twitter Search

Twitter CEO Elon Musk sets his sights on improving the website’s search functionality, enlisting the help of prolific hacker and long-time critic George Hotz.

In the span of a 12-week internship, Hotz promises to “fix” Twitter search and introduce all-new features, such as the ability to search within liked tweets.

As the first person in the world to jailbreak the iPhone, Hotz is no stranger to bringing new capabilities to existing platforms.

However, what’s most notable about Hotz joining Twitter is his prior criticism of Musk, refusing to work for Musk at Tesla, claiming he could develop a better self-driving car system.

It appears the two are putting their differences aside out of a mutual interest in building a better Twitter search engine.

Hotz volunteered his services in exchange for the cost of living in San Francisco, and Musk seemingly took him up on the offer:

Now, Hotz is documenting the journey of implementing long-requested features that are commonplace in other search engines.

Like what?

For one, the ability to deliver relevant results that don’t contain the exact words used in a query.

Additionally, Hotz is crowdsourcing ideas for delivering more contextual autocomplete results when users type “from:” in the search box:

Hotz is enthusiastic about removing the sign-up prompt that appears when logged-out users scroll through search results.

After removing the popup, Hotz plans to implement a way for users to search within liked tweets:

Hotz also mentioned that Twitter’s advanced search feature should be featured more promptly, though he’s not in charge of UI updates.

Beyond those changes, what Hotz will do to “fix” Twitter search is mainly unknown. We’ll likely learn more as the days and weeks go on.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news on Musk’s Twitter with our continuously updated timeline of events.


Featured Image: rblfmr/Shutterstock



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