They are after you from all over the globe. Looking for ways to exploit you. Ways to hurt you. I'm not talking about political terrorists, but rather "info terrorists". Each month thousands of websites get hacked into and have hidden links inserted into the pages by people wanting their spam sites to rank highly in the search engines.

What they don't realize is that their targeted keyword phrases - you know that ones - viagra, cialis, levitra, Xanax will cause your site rankings to drop like a hot potato once the search engines are on to it. Google won't give you a warning when they see lots of links to these spammy sites. They will simply just stop sending traffic to the pages that contain the offending links. If the hacker has only added the code to a few of your pages the traffic drop can be quite small and it becomes almost impossible to diagnose the problem.

Matt Cutts, head of Google's WebSpam team, has stated that 2008 will be the year hacking and SEO collide:

2008 will be the year that hacking and search engine optimization (SEO) collide in a major way. By the end of the year, a nontrivial fraction of blackhat SEO will involve illegally hacking sites for links or landing pages.

One webhost will get a significant black eye as hundreds or thousands of customers’ websites are hacked. The growth of illegal-blackhat SEO will leave traditional blackhats with a difficult choice: risk doing something illegal or sit out.

This is a simple solution to notify you if your site is compromised in such a way. Since the offending links are often hidden from everyone but Google, we can use Google's spider to let us know.

If you are already familiar with Google Alerts, then you know where I am heading here. If you're not, Google Alerts are just a simple, free way for you to get an email sent to you whenever a Google comes across keywords that you designate. It's a great tool for keeping tabs on anything you can think of online.

So here's how it works. First, go to Then, think of a few likely spam terms that hackers might like to put in our site and then use them to make up a search query:

viagra OR cialis OR levitra OR gambling OR poker OR Xanax

Finally, enter the line above into the “Create a Google Alert” box and you will get an email whenever Google sees one of your chosen spam words on your site.

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