What has gotten Google upset this time? Well, it seems like the company has set eyes on all the webmasters that use sneaky redirects. To make sure things are “set in stone,” Google has gone as far as to change the guidelines to make sure that no one is confused about how it wants things done, what is acceptable and what’s not.
“Redirects are often used by webmasters to help forward visitors from one page to another. They are a normal part of how the web operates, and are very valuable when well used,” starts off Google’s warning on the topic.
The company’s Aaseesh Marina, member of the Search Quality Team, mentions that some redirects are specifically designed to manipulate or deceive search engines or to display different content to human users than to search engines, hence the “sneaky” character.
“For example, desktop users might receive a normal page, while hackers might redirect all mobile users to a completely different spam domain. To help webmasters better recognize problematic redirects, we have updated our quality guidelines for sneaky redirects with examples that illustrate redirect-related violations,” Marina writes.
To that end, the company has updated the hacked content guidelines to include redirects on compromised websites. Webmasters who believe that their sites have been compromised are provided with instructions on how to identify the issues on their own sites and how to fix everything.
That’s not all of course. The company is planning to punish those who violate the quality guidelines. “We may take manual action, including removal from our index, in order to maintain the quality of the search results,” Google threatens.
In the update it brought to the “Hacked pages” guideline, Google indicates that hackers might inject malicious code into websites making various pages redirect some users to harmful or spammy pages. This means that clicking a URL in Google search results could redirect users to a suspicious page, but there is no actual such redirect when visiting the same URL directly from a browser.