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Spamdexing: Definition, Types, and How It Works

Last updated: Aug 25, 2023

What is SEO Spam or Spamdexing?

Spamdexing or SEO spam is an attempt to manipulate the search index by inserting unwanted content on other websites. SEO spammers usually look for web pages that rank high on search engines to embed keywords or links that contain spam.

Types of Spam

Hackers have many tricks in attacking your website. One of them by using SEO spam to achieve their goals. Some types of SEO spam are:

Keyword Injection Spam

Spammers will promote their products and services by including keywords on higher ranking websites. Website owners will not be aware of this, because keyword injection spam is one of the Black-Hat SEO techniques.

Injection Links Spam 

Spammers can also add spam links to your website. These links are hidden in your regular content or commonly referred to as clickjacking. These spam links will lead to other pages containing the sale of illegal drugs, gambling, adult content, and so on.

Email Spam

SEO hackers may send spam emails to customers to promote their products and services. In this case, customers and search engines will see the web owner as the original email sender, so the web owner can be considered a spammer.

Ads Spam

SEO spammers can also hijack the display of ads on a website. Usually, spammers will take actions such as replacing ads, banners, pop-ups, and the CTA of the attacked website and directing customers to their own web page.

Posts and Page Spam

Spammers can also add WordPress pages or create posts on attacked websites. The goal of spammers is that the keywords they are targeting get ranked.

How Spammers Carry Out Attacks On Websites

In carrying out the attack, SEO spammers do not target a particular site. They tend to look for some of the most vulnerable sites. Here are some of the ways spammers carry out attacks on websites:

Outdated Version of WordPress

One way to carry out spamdexing attacks is to attack websites that use old versions of WordPress. In 2018, 36% of the hacked WordPress websites were sites with outdated versions. Ignoring updates means opening up a loophole for these hackers.

Vulnerable Plugins and Themes

Themes and plugins do add functionality to WordPress, but they can also cause you problems. Installing pirated plugins or themes that are not tested for security is one of the entrances for hackers. They can inject spam keywords or links, create backdoors, and display the content they want.

Weak Password

One of the websites that are vulnerable to spamdexing are websites with weak passwords. In this case, hackers could use brute force attacks and try different combinations of passwords to get into your website.

How to Avoid SEO Spam

After knowing the types and ways of spammers, then you need to know how to avoid spamdexing. Things you can do to avoid spamdexing are as follows:

  • Keep Updating - plugins and themes that are not updated are vulnerable to attack by spammers, so make sure the software you use is always up to date.
  • Create Strong Passwords - to protect website assets from hackers, you need to create strong password combinations.
  • Use Captcha - one way to avoid spam is to use a captcha to prevent bots or hackers from easily sending things to websites.
  • Regular Site Audit - with this way, web owners can find out if their site is spam or not so they can take corrective steps.
  • Monitor Backlinks - to prevent Black-hat SEO attacks, you need to monitor backlink activity to avoid link spam.
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