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My website was victim of the Canonical Tag Negative SEO exploit causing it to be de-indexed 3 Recommended Answers 9 Replies 1 Upvote
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I believe my website was victim of the Canonical Tag Negative SEO exploit described here: https://www.billhartzer.com/seo/canonical-tag-negative-seo-google/ causing it to be de-indexed from Google with the reason WNC-645700 (pure spam). There are clear indications of this when I view index coverage. In the details user-declared canonical url is pointing to a URL that is not on my website.

User-declared canonical
Google-selected canonical

It happened causing a spike. See overview below.

And here are some other screenshots:

Details of an URL:

For what I know my website ezcontents.org does not violate any Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Google does not want to add my website back to the index. Does anyone have suggestions for me how to solve this issue?
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Hi there!

Pure spam is completely different from what is described in that article. Pure spam is for content on your site.  And yes, sometimes for sites that are really pushing the envelope with tactics. But what that article describes is not something Google would use for a manual action against your site.

As for URLs like this https://ezcontents.org/IvnWyQIRzbcg  -- it seems to be redirecting to your home page.  You shouldn't be doing that.  If these are URLs you didn't create, then return a 404 Not Found.  You should also check for a hack, just in case this means the site was hacked.

Some questions...
  • Do you write all your content yourself? Are those images yours too?
  • How many websites do you have?
  • And... why is this one called "ezcontents"?  How long have you had that domain?
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Hi Suzanneh,

Thank you for taking time to have a look at my website. Indeed! You are right... it seems to be hacked! :-(

I haven't noticed it. There are several websites running on my server. They must have found a way in.

The website is now offline.

This must have also caused the canonical URLs being generated by my CMS. Apologies for the wrong assumption of the negative Google exploit. I will correct the problem and try to re-apply for adding my website back to the index.

As for you question if I write the content myself, the answer is yes. All content, pictures and files are mine. In the past I used to run an open source project called ezContents CMS, but it was too hard to keep up and I have switched the domain to the writing of electronic hobby blogs. I own this domain for 17 years now.
marked this as an answer
Hi Chris, did you manage to find a solution for your clients? We are experiencing the exact same problem. Have tried a bunch of things like dissavowing, DMCAs, re-indexing but still nothing is working. We are pretty sure our site hasn't been hacked (our host did a full scan), so at this point we're very stuck with what to do next. Was thinking perhaps there is a way to block those ?join= parameters by inserting some code into every page of our site, or something along those lines. Would love to know if you found a solution! Thanks
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