Getting delisted from Google sucks a whole lot as you can see from the graph below.
Google Analytics graph showing how our visits were impacted by being delisted from Google
Some of you may recall that my site was cracked late last year. This resulted in a large quantity of hidden spam links getting added to my site which resulted in Google removing Ivany.org from their search engine.
I was averaging somewhere around 200 hits a day (not bad for a silly little site like this) and I watched that go down to about 3 in a matter of hours. Ouch! I did get a few direct visits from people I know and a very small number from other search engines.
On January 3, 2009 I was added back into Google and that day I jumped back up to to about 75 hits. I’m not back to where I was before I got delisted yet but I hope to get there soon. I’m still showing up on the first page for most of the major topics on this site so I can’t complain too much.
I have learned a few things from being delisted though and I’ll try to put them together into a couple posts over the next couple weeks. There was one big warning sign that I missed simply because I didn’t know what I was looking for.
Well, I guess my time ran out. My website was cracked at some point in the last couple months. Someone managed to figure out my password (which was a really crappy password) and started adding a whole lot of hidden spam to my posts. Unfortunately I didn’t notice until Google sent me a message indicating that their search robot found spam on my site.
So this morning I’ve been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and trying to determine what was touched. I have a few ideas on how the person got access and they are all due to crappy passwords. Now is a good time to remind everyone to create strong passwords. If you need some help, check out a site like Bad Neighborhood‘s Mnemonic Strong Password Generator. You shouldn’t use your pets, kids, grandkids, or common words for a password.
Oh, and to anyone who had a login/password on ivany.org – sorry, they have all been deleted now. I’m going to try to roll out a new website in the coming weeks so the timing of this isn’t so bad. Pretty much everything is changing.
Update: Well, this sucks. At first I didn’t think I had been de-listed from Google but now it seems I have been. Crappy. Here’s hoping they get to my “reconsideration request” sometime soon.
As of early this week, I started getting hit with a lot more comment and trackback spam than I ever had before. I guess it’s sort of a right of passage. ;) It wasn’t overly bad, it just meant I had to delete about 50 spam a day from my moderation queue.
Then I decided to look for something better (ie easier) and found Dr Dave’s Spam Karma 2.0. I have no idea if it works yet so I’ll just wait and see what happens over the next couple days.