Google results maliciously manipulated so that users could be easily duped into clicking WoW Eden links.
Many people get their World of Warcraft information from Wowhead, but over the past few months, it has been reported that WoW Eden has tried to hijack their SEO listings on Google and send people away from Wowhead, affecting their traffic.
How Does This Happen?
WoW Eden has set up a spider bot to hijack their SEO listings. Google then parses WoW Eden as a result, which looks similar to Wowhead. The good news? Wowhead has stated that the site itself is not compromised. The bad news? Internet users will receive a 302 error, which is an HTTP response status code that redirects the person to another website. This means that you can be taken to random websites that are part of WoW Eden’s referral network. This can range from sites such as Amazon to websites with explicit content. Perculia, the site director for Wowhead, explained Wowhead’s strategy to combat this manipulation,
“At this point we have reached out to several representatives at Google and Go Daddy, filed reports, and taken other steps. As you can imagine, these companies get many reports to sift through, and it’s a slower process than we’d like. In the meantime, we’re continuing to put out our content and tools, but it’s quite upsetting to feel like our work is being erased on Google, especially when we’re in the middle of a PTR cycle and being the first to break lots of interesting news,”
How Can You Avoid it?
If you want to prevent being redirected off Wowhead, you should add the search terms site:wowhead.com or add +wowhead after your search term. Those with Google Chrome can also download the Personal Blocklist browser extension to hide any search results by a specific domain.