How Does An Online Attack Impact Your Search Ranking?
Our friend and business partner, Howard Neu, had referred the owner of a category-killer domain name to us about three weeks ago. For this illustration, we will change our client’s name to Joe Smith, and we will change the real domain name to example.com.
Joe and Rodan have been discussing all the usual stuff: domains, hosting, rankings, Google, code, shopping carts, and civil litigation. What’s that? Civil Litigation?
Example.com is the subject of a lawsuit that has resulted in some rather dirty tricks being played by the adversarial parties, and those dirty tricks included a denial-of-service attack. Joe thought that DDOS began sometime in the second week of May, because suddenly his hosting company could not handle the upsurge of traffic. That’s the point of a denial of service attack. Make the server so busy it can’t handle legitimate traffic.
Now here’s the interesting thing: The domain, example.com, had been on the first page of Google’s search results for “example” for a very long time. About a month ago it suffered what appeared to be that infamous 950-penalty, a ranking smasher that pushes domains and their websites off the first 100 pages of Google’s search results. It usually means death for a domain, unless quick action is taken.
We moved example.com to a different server, and a different host – our host – and then began watching the traffic trends. Carefully working with our hosting company, we were able to identify hundreds of fake IP addresses being used to send fake traffic to the domain.
The DDOS had apparently begun weeks ago, and Google, seeing this fake traffic, penalized example.com for scam traffic. It was not the fault of the owner of example.com; it was, in fact, a slanderous and criminal act (whatever the law may say, we think it’s criminal behavior) on the part of Mr. Smith’s adversaries to further damage his business.
Their tactic worked, but only until Rodan Media got involved. We are pleased to say example.com is now back on the first page, above the fold, for the generic search terms that previously directed visitors to the domain.
Of course, this will require diligence, to maintain the ranking; and now we begin the process of building a semantic network for our new client.
The moral of the story: If you had a good search ranking, and lost it, perhaps a DDOS is something to consider.