My website is the first result for the search term "word search solver" in Google. Recently, I noticed a huge drop in traffic (almost all my traffic comes from Google), so I did a quick search. What I found was that while Google still displays my website as the first result, a redirect has been added and it now points to a spam site (see https://www.google.com/search?q=word+search+solver). The description remains the same ("To solve the word search..."), and the cached version brings up the correct version of the site.

The confounding thing is, the site can still be accessed just fine by visiting directly (https://wordsearch.lukasjoswiak.com), or by being referred by another site. The only thing that seems to have changed is the Google link. When I do a "site:" search, there are no problems (https://www.google.com/#q=site:wordsearch.lukasjoswiak.com).

I have found similar questions (Site is being redirected to Viagra store; all the usual suspects turn up nothing), but I can't seem to find the problem if it exists on my server. There are no redirects in .htaccess, no PHP or JavaScript redirects that I can find. Maybe it is an Apache backdoor?

Additionally, I run a number of other sites off the same server (any on https://lukasjoswiak.com) and a Google search for any of them does not have this problem. Any ideas?

Server details: DigitalOcean VPS running Ubuntu 14.04.

UPDATE: Turns out it was a Google bug. More details here: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/webmasters/SUQ9xY0c9Ks

  • 2
    Hold on: when I run a google search for word search solvers there is a spam site at the top of the results: personaltouchtherapies is that what you are seeing? It's not your site at all. If I search for word search solvers lukasjoswiak their site is #1 and you are #2 -
    – schroeder
    Apr 19, 2016 at 19:26
  • 1
    Yes, that's the site that has allegedly hijacked his spot. View the cached page, you'll see it's his site. Apr 19, 2016 at 19:27
  • 2
    This is not a server problem! This is a Google SEO issue on their end. There appears to be nothing for Lukas to do on his end. The spam site isn't hijacking or mimicing Lukas's site at all from my searches
    – schroeder
    Apr 19, 2016 at 19:29
  • 2
    This is what I get: imgur.com/LUehlJB to me, they just copied your metadata in order to hijack the SEO
    – schroeder
    Apr 19, 2016 at 19:34
  • 2
    @Lukas there should be some kind of "abuse" contact email. Not sure how else to help. I'll close this question as "off-topic" as it isn't a security issue, but a Google SEO one.
    – schroeder
    Apr 19, 2016 at 19:44


Browse other questions tagged .