Here's What Matt Cutts Says to Sites That Have Been Hacked

Chris CrumSearchNews

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Google's head of Webspam, Matt Cutts, has been in the news a lot this week, thanks to Google's big webspam update, which has become officially known as the Penguin update. As Cutts says, Google has to deal with more types of spam than just the black hat SEO tactics, which the update targets. They also have to deal with sites who have been hacked.

It's not uncommon to stumble across compromised sites in Google's search results. In fact, we saw a few with the "This site may be compromised" tag on the SERP for "viagra" this week, when we were analyzing the effects of the Penguin update. While Google addressed some issues with that SERP ( is ranking at the top again), there are still some compromised results on the page, even today.

On his personal blog, Cutts posted an example email of what he tells site owners who have sites that Google has identified as hacked. The email (minus identifying details) says:

Hi xxxxxxx, I’m the head of Google’s webspam team. Unfortunately, really has been hacked by people trying to sell pills. I’m attaching an image to show the page that we’re seeing.

We don’t have the resources to give full 1:1 help to every hacked website (thousands of websites get hacked every day–we’d spend all day trying to help websites clean up instead of doing our regular work), so you’ll have to consult with the tech person for your website. However, we do provide advice and resources to help clean up hacked websites, for example

We also provide additional assistance for hacked sites in our webmaster support forum at!forum/webmasters . I hope that helps.

Matt Cutts

P.S. If you visit a page like and don’t see the pill links, that means the hackers are being extra-sneaky and only showing the spammy pill links to Google. We provide a free tool for that situation as well. It’s called “Fetch as Googlebot” and it lets you send Google to your website and will show you exactly what we see. I would recommend this blog post describing how to use that tool, because your situation looks quite similar.

Cutts says the best advice he can give to site owners is to keep their web server softare up to date and fully patched. If you want Google's advice on the other kind of spam, read this.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.