— Google made the link a valuable commodity, so hackers are compromising sites and then getting paid to inject links. ICYMI, here’s my latest byline for BuzzFeed News
Via “Hackers Are Breaking Into Websites And Adding Links To Game Google” by Craig Silverman and Dean Sterling Jones, BuzzFeed News, December 18, 2019:
…Websites of all types and sizes, and especially those that use the open-source version of WordPress, are hacked to inject links to manipulate search engine results. A BuzzFeed News investigation reveals how injected links are sold by global networks of online marketplaces and black hat SEO consultants who offer customers the ability to have links placed on compromised websites.
Among those affected are journalists, celebrities, churches, charities, veterans organizations, and the managing director of Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm. Injected backlinks on these compromised sites quickly improve the search engine rankings of customers’ web properties by exploiting Google’s preference for sites that receive a high quantity of links from authoritative sites. That in turn helps the customer sites attract more traffic, and in some cases, increase sales.
BuzzFeed News obtained lists of more than 20,000 websites where backlinks can allegedly be added for a fee, and confirmed multiple cases where links were added to these and other sites without the owner’s knowledge…
Click here to read the full story.