Hacking Explained – Why You Are Targeted

You can recover from a hack.
You can recover from a hack.

It’s the worst case scenario, you get a note from Google saying it looks like you’ve been hacked. Your website now has a tag on Google that says “this site has been hacked”, your traffic has plummeted and sales are way off. Why you!

Not all hacking is about stealing credit card information. Sometimes a hack is about stealing your traffic and your SEO juice. Only sites that are well-placed and popular are targeted for this type of hack.

The hackers know that you are doing something right and have Google’s attention and they want a piece of that action for their own benefit. What hackers will typically do in this case is to sneak in via WordPress and then move directly into your website, installing snippets of code that create folders on your server and a brand new XML site map full of spammy links pointing to websites that they are wanting to improve the placement on with Google.

Try to just delete the folder and you’re fine, think again. These scripts are propagating. Delete a folder and it will be back tomorrow in a new location with a new name. Plus the hackers will be logging in to add more junk and update their benefiting site list. It is all done to bleed off your traffic and steal the SEO juice you have.

The only way to solve this type of problem is by brute force. You’ll need to take everything down, wipe it clean and then reload only clean files plus a full new fresh update of all WordPress files. You may even have to clean your WordPress database and manually review each and every website page you put back.

When you do, make sure you are hardening your security, updating passwords and deleting files you don’t need where code may be hiding. These are smart, tricky, and unscrupulous people. They are not targeting you but for any other reason that your website is well-placed and popular.


Should You Buy a Previously Owned Domain Name?

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McCord Web Services is a Google Partner.

Be careful, very careful, even if a domain is offered to you for a great price and it really looks like a great keyword match, take a deep breath and do your homework before you jump on buying that domain name.

Why should I be careful?

It today’s environment when great domains become available it is typically because they have been burned out by spammers. A domain will carry history, it is not just a name and when you take it over thinking you are getting a fresh start; it may be banned by spam registries, Internet Service Providers, and been used and abused by spamming or black hat SEO’s.

Even $200 is too much to pay for a domain that has been abused. You may never be able to use the domain name in an email address and the history may be so tainted that you will never be able to remediate it and place on any search engine with it.

My recommendation is – No Go.

My candid recommendation on buying a used domain, based on how things are, is that I would pass. A domain name does not assure SEO placement, and if you really love the domain you may be able to buy it fresh and clean and never used before as a .us or .biz.

If the price tag is even higher, hire an expert to do due diligence for you. I’ve seen domains go for $10,000. You’d hate to pay that kind of money and find out that the domain had been horribly abused making its value to you nearly nothing. Be careful and do some Google searches on this topic before you plunk down your cash to buy.


We’re Taking a Break This Week

At McCord Web Services, we are moving this week just before the holidays. Plus all our staff is arriving from out of town to help with the move and to do some retraining. As we are a family business, that means our house will be full with more technology than you can shake a stick at and full of laughter with ten people around the dinner table.

We’ll be back blogging on Monday next week.

Wishing you the very best for the upcoming holiday.


Moving for the Last Time This Week

This week my family and office are having their final adventure in moving. Our moving truck with our possessions that have been in storage since July is finally arriving on the 22nd to deliver all the things we were sure we had lost while moving.

After living in an apartment for too many months now, my office and family is finally being moved to our final location and newly built home.

I’ll be taking a break from blogging this week due to the loss of internet connectivity, chaos moving all my office furniture and files, and the fact that nearly our entire extended family and remote office staff will be coming to visit for the holiday.

I’ll be back blogging after Christmas.


Insights Into Mobile Lead Generation in Google AdWords

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McCord Web Services is a Google Partner.

I manage many AdWords accounts across a diverse selection of verticals and wanted to share with you an insight that I am finding out appears to be true for many of our clients.

Mobile is a very important part of the lead generation equation; even if you are not seeing strong lead generation coming directly from mobile do not discount its importance.

Here’s one test I did recently…

I moved a client totally out of mobile using a -100% bid as their Google Analytics traffic stated that only 3.0% of their visitors were coming in from a mobile device. This client runs a Yahoo store and is using one of Yahoo’s generated mobile websites.

Immediately we saw a 12% drop in overall conversions, a 33.87% drop in cost, a 35.38% drop in clicks, and 27.17% increase in cost per conversion.

What I am finding out is that for many clients mobile activity, when stopped completely, causes a drop in even desktop conversions.

So although mobile is valuable for your overall lead generation strategy controlling the bid is very important.

Google recommends using this formula to assign the correct bid for mobile to achieve the best return on ad spend.

(Mobile conversion rate divided by the desktop conversion rate) – 1.  This give you the percentage to be up or down in your bid.

I personally review all accounts every 30 days and when I am in the account on a weekly basis review the setting based on an upward or downward trend in mobile conversions to tweak the bid.

Mobile bidding is certainly not a set and forget setting. Your success or lack of success in this important segment will impact your overall program’s conversions.