New Major SERP hack in the UK

November 19, 2012 // Internet Fun, paid links, Search Engines

Another morning, another search results hijack appears to surface. Car insurance is one of the most competitive search terms to try and rank for in the UK and it often takes years to establish yourself at the top. However this morning when searching in Google for Car Insurance a result that was only 1 hour old appears to rank in number 3 position.

Now in the past Google has tested including news results into top positions for competitive terms but having worked on a car insurance client for a few years I was unfamiliar with this particular site, so I looked a bit closer. Here is the page that ranks number 3 in the UK for the term car insurance:

Looks trustworthy huh..

The content on the site is very small, there’s nothing I could find that indicates hidden text or mass on-page spamming. Looking at the categories on the site it’s obvious this site is used to spam multiple categories/verticals as it’s all unrelated:

What’s worrying to me on this result is that for the last 3 years I’ve not seen this happen on a keyword of this magnitude, so something new must be being used by the spammers or there’s a new hole in Google’s ever changing algorithm.

The site is 5 years old and the is a fairly low number of low quality links but nothing out of the blue – I’ll have a look further into this but if anyone has any insights please comment and let me know!

**Update – Google dealt with the spam within a matter of hours, but given the search volume for that phrase these guys probably made quite a bit of cash.

Matt Ridout

About the author

My name is Matt Ridout, I've been working in digital marketing for 9 years; worked for agencies and currently Head of SEO at fashion startup called Farfetch. Try to test my own theories.

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