On Monday (10/5) Google announced a far-reaching revision to their search algorithm that aims to eradicate hacked spam from search results. What is hacked spam you ask? Hacked spam refers to the tactic of spammers injecting legitimate websites with malicious content in an attempt to achieve a certain objective. Generally, the end goal is improve the page rank of and increase traffic to whatever they are injecting.

The update will create quite the ripple in search results as Google estimates that “roughly 5% of queries, depending on the language” will be affected. That number might not sound like much, but it means that up to 175 million pages total will no longer be appearing in searches.  Google also noted that during the roll out a reduction in results per page will occur since only the most relevant results will be displayed for certain queries. As time goes by, however, search results will increase in quality and quantity. To illustrate the changes Google shared this image:

Google Search Algorithm Before and After
Search Results Before and After Update

While the update aims to increase protection for users and webmasters alike, it underlines the importance of ensuring that websites are kept secure. WordPress, for example, is the most popular content management system with one in five websites running on it. This makes it a massive target for hackers intent on wreaking havoc. For WordPress users it is essential to always make sure that your data is backed up and your version is up to date with the newest release. Basics such as a strong user name and password as well as managing accesses to accounts apply as well.

However, even with these precautions WordPress has been vulnerable to SQL injections in the past. SQL injections involve a hacker placing commands within a URL to trigger a response from the SQL database that stores important site information. Here is a list of some additional precautions that can thwart these and others forms of attack. If improper precautions are taken then a business could find itself absent from search results; a veritable death knell in the increasingly digital businesses environment that we live in.