Google took to their Webmaster Central blog today to let everyone know they have made changes to their Webmaster Guidelines in the sections that pertain to sneaky redirects. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines are strictly against any kind of redirects that are designed to manipulate or deceive search engines or to display different content to human users than to search engines.
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines have been updated to include mobile-specific redirects. Google provides the example of this kind of redirect by saying “desktop users might receive a normal page, while hackers might redirect all mobile users to a completely different spam domain.”
Google has also also updated the hacked content guidelines to include redirects on compromised websites. A new excerpt from these guidelines reads:
“Hackers might inject malicious code to your website that redirects some users to harmful or spammy pages. The kind of redirect sometimes depends on referrer, user-agent, or device. For example, clicking a URL in Google search results could redirect you to a suspicious page, but there is no redirect when you visit the same URL directly from a browser.”
If you believe your site is a victim of this type of hacking, follow Google’s provided instructions to identify the problem and fix it.
Google reserves the right to take manual action against any site found to be in violation of their Webmaster Guidelines, including removal from their index.
Google adds that redirects are a normal part of how the web works, and very valuable when properly used. So if you continue to use redirects simply to forward visitors from one page to another, you’ll have nothing to worry about.