Google’s New Hacked Classifier Misclassifies Some Web Sites As Hacked

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Google has released a new hacked page classifier for its search results that had a bug leading to “a small number” of sites being misclassified as hacked.

This morning, I noticed an unusual number of complaints in the help forums with complaints that their hacked-free sites were labeled by Google as “this site may be hacked.” The label is just under the clickable link in the Google search results, which would make any searcher wary about visiting the site.

Here is a screen shot of one of the many examples of sites misclassified:

hack-site-example

A Google spokesperson told us that this was an issue with a revised hacked page classifier it released last night or this morning. Here is Google’s statement:

We’re slowly rolling out a new hacked page classifier (not CMS specific) and noticed a small number of misclassifications. We’re sorry for any trouble this may have caused — we are working on addressing the issues.

Those who have this warning listed on their website in Google have nothing to do but wait until Google fixes the issue. During that time, one would expect the click-through rate on the search listing would drop heavily.

Postscript: On February 20th, Google released a web form that you can complete and have someone review your site, if you think you were misclassified by this hacked classifier. You can fill out the form over here.

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