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How to know if your membership website search engine ranking is being hijacked?

Beware the 302 server redirect, which can either cause search engine traffic to your website to disappear or redirect the traffic you deserve to another website.

Say you have a popular membership website. You post new content regularly. You use good keywords and write smart headlines.

An unethical webmaster can use a 302 redirect to cause search engine traffic to your website to disappear.

In fact, you do everything you know how to optimize your site for the search engines and indexes, so that new potential members will find you site and join.

And what happens? Some unethical webmaster, in effect, hijacks your site’s popularity by manipulating the Search Engine Results Pages (“SERPs”) and redirects them to his own site.

It happened to SWEPA. It could happen to your site.

It’s called a 302 server redirect. It’s technical, of course, but as I understand it, it’s a small bit of programming code.

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An unethical webmaster can use a 302 redirect to cause search engine traffic to your website to disappear. Or he can redirect the traffic that deserves to be coming to your site elsewhere — probably to his own, competing website.

How can you know if you are victim of a 302 redirect hijacking?

Do a Google search for allinurl:www.yourmembershipwebsite.com. See if the search returns any listings that are not your site but have the same title as your site.

If the title is the same, the cache is the same, and an HTTP 302 is returned, your site has been hijacked.

So far, the only remedy we know of is to contact the offending website and insist that the webmaster remove your (stolen) content.

Meanwhile, we hope that Google and the other search engines and indexes are working to correct the problem.

For additional information go to http://clsc.net/research/google-302-page-hijack.htm.

See also http://www.tonyspencer.com/mt/archives/2004/12/tracker2php_pag_1.htm.

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