Semalt: How To Identify And Remove Japanese SEO Spam From Website

It seems black hat SEO spammers haven't slept a minute in 2017. There is a new technique being used to hijack Google search results and create autogenerated Japanese text in search results. Using this technique, randomly created Japanese words are displayed in the title and description of the attacked site. Many users have encountered this problem and are referring to it as the "Japanese SEO Spam", "Japanese Keyword Hack", or the "Japanese Search Spam".

It has been found out that these spamming sites are affiliated to stores selling fake merchandise. The hacker typically adds himself as a property owner in Search Console and manipulates your site's settings such as sitemaps. Therefore, if you are notified that someone has verified your site in Search Console and you don't know who it is, there is a high likelihood that your site has been hacked.

Andrew Dyhan, the Customer Success Manager of Semalt, specifies the ways of blocking Japanese spam.

Identifying Japanese SEO Spam in Your Webpages

If you suspect that your site has been infected by this spam, go to Search Console and check Securities Issues. You'll know whether Google has discovered any hacked pages.

You can also uncover hacked pages by entering "site:[your site root URL]" in Google's query search field. Google returns a list of indexed pages and any hacked pages should be in this list. Make sure you go through several pages of the search results looking keenly for unusual URLs. You'd also want to use a different search engine so that in case Google has removed some hacked content from the index, other engines will bring them out to you.

Check for cloaking

At times these hackers will try to fool you that your site isn't infected with the Japanese search spam. They cloak content and trick you into thinking that hacked pages have been fixed or removed. A popular method of cloaking is displaying a message (such as a 404 error) suggesting that the page does not exist.

To check for cloaking, go to the Fetch as Google tool in Search Console and enter your site's URL. This tool uncovers the hidden content for you.

How to Fix the Japanese SEO Spam

Before you get into the cleaning up process for a site that's affected by Japanese Search Spam, first back it up. Copy all files located on your server and save them to a location off the server. Back up the database as well if you are using a Content Management System (CNS).

After securing all your important files offline, use the following steps to block Japanese SEO Spam from your site:

  • Remove any new accounts that have been added Search Console and leave only verified users that appear on the Search Console verification page.
  • Locate the .htaccess file and replace it with a completely new version. Many times, hackers use .htaccess rules to create verification tokens and gibberish spammy pages as well as redirect users.
  • Identify and remove malicious scripts and files.
  • Now check whether your site is clean.

Knowing how to fix vulnerabilities is crucial but understanding how to prevent them is even more important. To keep your site protected from Japanese SEO Spam and other spams of its type, scan your site regularly, change your passwords frequently, use Two-Factor Authentication, and keep your CMS, plugins, modules and extensions updated. It's recommended that you subscribe to a security service that will constantly monitor your site and keep it safe.

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