What is hijacking (in the context of Search Engine Optimization)?
Hijacking in a SEO context is a negative SEO technique. The term comes from the English word, meaning “kidnap”. It consists of duplicating completely the content of a domain in another domain with more authority. When this happens, Google’s algorithm gives preference to the domain with a higher authority. Thus, if someone hijacks your website by copying the content and transfers it to a domain with more authority, the domain with the original content may be penalized.
Hijacking can also refer to hacking a domain beyond content. For instance, it can a hack attack that changes the redirection of the DNS servers. The consequence of this kind of hijacking is that, when entering a domain A, the redirection of the hijackers will send you to a domain B.
Thus, the hijacking of a website can imply the total duplication of the content or hacking the web to provoke a redirection.
What are the consequences of hijacking? How does it affect the positioning of a website?
When finding a case of hijacking, Google’s algorithm gives preference to the domain with a higher authority. Although from a more ethical point of view, the penalized domain should be the one that has copied the content, the penalty falls on the domain with less authority, regardless of whether it was written before.
The consequence of this penalty is that the affected domain will not be shown at all in the SERPS.
Notorious cases of hijacking: the SEO contest cantineoqueteveo
Cantineoqueteveo is an SEO contest, taking place from February 19 to May 6. As for today, we know that many well-known SEOs from Spain (and not only) are participating in this contest.
On April 25th, Chuiso (well-known in the SEO community for his activity in social networks and for having won another SEO contest) announced that the domain he was using for the contest had suffered hijacking at a content level. Chuiso’s opponent, Henry Matzar, would have copied the content of Chuiso’s domain and even tried to do the same with his personal blog.
Esta rata nos hizo content hijacking en el .es y ahora ha pretendido repetirlo con mi blog. Menudo elemento. Ahí tenéis su jepeto. BLACK HAT SEO Y SEO NEGATIVO NO ES LO MISMO. No seas como él ni en el SEO ni en la vida. pic.twitter.com/zh3ONUgUwx
— Chuiso (@chuisochuisez) 24 de abril de 2019
What is the consequence of hijacking in this case? Chuiso’s kidnapped domain of Chuiso did not manage to position higher than Henry Matzar’s web. On the other hand, Matzar’s domain reached a very high position, even reaching the top ranks of the SERPs throughout the contest.
Flipando muchísimo con esto https://t.co/l188nM1U29
— 🔴Miguel Cidre🚀 (@MiguelCidrex) 25 de abril de 2019
The truth is that the rules of this contest confirm that Black Hat SEO tecnniques may be used, but nothing is specified about negative SEO techniques, like this one.
Have you ever suffered from hijacking? Share your opinion in the comment section!