Lee Odden

Getting Hacked as Link Bait

Is it an April Fool’s joke or the real thing that Google’s Matt Cutts blog has been hacked by Dark SEO team? Either way, there’s a ton of buzz about it already ranging from at Search Engine Land to several forums to Digg.

Danny Sullivan reported Matt’s site has been slow and that he’ll be offline until Monday so the hacked page will be up for a while. Interestingly, Matt’s blog and this blog are both hosted with the same company – at least from what I can tell from his DNS records.

While the defaced page is up over the weekend, it will attract quite a bit of buzz and links. For an April Fool’s joke, taking out all the archives of the blog seems a bit extreme.

According to his post on Twitter, I’m thinking it was hacked:
“blog’s been hacked. that’s why there was the slowness. i can’t fix this now, either. sorry, will try when back on monday”

I think CuttsCon is the more likely (and funny) Matt Cutts April Fool’s play. 🙂

Can getting hacked serve as a form of link attraction? Sure, but certainly not the kind of links that offer any value. Unlike the old public relations adage, “Any news is good news”, any links are not good links. Getting a ton of incoming links with references to getting hacked isn’t going to associate any kind of desired meaning to the site.

April Fool’s joke or not, it should spur some interesting commentary, like the need for site monitoring so if your blog gets defaced you can do something about it quickly. Blogs change so often though, I suspect that kind of monitoring would be hard to do.

Backing up your blog is another topic that might come out of this. Nothing would suck more than losing a few years of posts and I doubt his web host is archiving.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar DarkSEOteam says

    Don’t even link to us, it could be considered as a Google blaspheme.
    Websites have catched terrible diseases such as link juice haemorrhage for less than that.
    You are right, nofollow won’t protect you. You are taking a big risk just by writting our name on your blog.
    You should have inlcuded it in an crypted image (Google’s great eyes read and understand images).


  2. I see. Well, the link has been removed from your comment if that’s what you mean.

  3. Avatar Aaron Pratt says

    Er Lee, did you read the credits?

    It is an obvious joke by Matt.

    I would be glad to link to the DarkSEOteam just to study the results. 😉

  4. Ha, I didn’t REALLY look at the credits until now. If those references are what I think they are, it’s hilarious. I don’t know all of them, but see references to Danny Sullivan, Dax Herrera, Dave Naylor, Earl Grey, Rand Fishkin, Jeremy Shoemaker, Phillip Lessen and Robert Scoble maybe?

  5. Avatar Aaron Pratt says


    You got to watch the tendency to blog it first Lee, you can miss key elements. 😉

    Looks like the joke is on DarkSEOteam.

  6. 🙂 Shoemoney did something similar last night (he thought doing it today would be too obvious…). “Got hacked” by Hanso Foundation.

  7. No Lee, I wasn’t precognitioning the fact that you will remove the link from my comment at the moment I wrote it, before you had the time to even read it.
    I’m good doing SEO but you are overestimating my abilities.
    To be honest, I didn’t even imagine what could justify it.
    Never mind.
    I was just wondering why you were linking to every source concerning this buzz except us.
    Frankly, we don’t need your link, our website is down and we won’t do anything to make profit with this…whatever you want to call it.
    I would like to remind you that we did a lot, in US forums, but also through actions like faking Google’s PR10 or GoogleBowling Matt’s blog to force Google to admit that they had serious issues with canonical URLS while, as GoogleGuy, Matt was simply saying to webmasters who had their websites hijacked that this just couldn’t happen (remember the thread in SEW when even Danny had to tell him to stop playing fool ?).
    He recognized the problem 1 year later, after he made his coming out (GoogleGuy -> Matt Cuts) and because it became so obvious.
    We are not hackers, otherwise we would have kept what we knew for us instead of making it public and we would have use it to derank websites which we never did.
    We aren’t a dirty team of hackers you won’t even link to their website when you are talking about them.
    It reminds me the “very white hat attitude” of splitting on everything which looked darker than their version of grey.
    That is what I meant in my original comment.
    You like Google’s April Fool’s Jokes ?
    Here is another one you’ve missed from Gmail homepage:

  8. Ha, this is pretty good. I sent Matt an email early this morning about his site being hacked and then realized it wasn’t and sent another “you got me” email. He didn’t rub it in in his reply – being the nice guy that he is. That’s what I get for blogging things early Sunday mornings. 🙂

  9. Lee,

    1) Wake-up
    2) Check calendar
    3) Blog


    P.S. I wasn’t sure myself…I posted the screen shot on flickr and wasn’t sure if it was a 1337 haxxor or a clever april fools’ joke.

  10. Gotta admit, I heard of this blog getting hacked and thought “april fools prank” immediately.

  11. I heard of this blog getting hacked