Bait and Switch: Gaining Top Rankings in Google

Bait & Switch hacking is the process of gaining ranking through Google Search by placing content into websites only to redirect Google visitors to another website. For example, sites like Bitcoin or even a polish bank can rank well on Google Searches for downloading games even though they do not offer such services. These sites are victims of hacking by gaining top listings on Google and redirecting people to other sites also known as Bait & Switch hacking. Bait and Switch hacking is when someone gains access to a website and then publishes pages on content that the site has nothing to do with or normally cover. The site might not even be aware that they have been hacked and these pages exist. Hackers publish such pages usually on existing sites since it might get more traffic than publishing it on new websites. Below is an example of this type of hacking for a Google search on “download games”.

Bait & Switch on download games search showing bitcoin website

As you can see Bitcoin site is ranking on the top results for this search even though the site has nothing to do with downloading games. Hackers have injected hundreds of pages related to downloading games onto the Bitcoin website and inserted links that only the Google search engine can read into the website’s homepage. When a human visitor clicks on one of the links or content injected by the hackers are redirected by JavaScript from the hacked site to another website. Hackers gain money off of affiliated fees for clicks or they can earn money from ads on their pages they redirect to. Bait & switch isn’t a new spamming tactic and Google has implemented defenses in the past to stop this tactic. However, in the past two months or so, something has changed allowing Bait & Switch to work again at least in the gaming space on Google.  There is no updated news on whether or not Google is fixing this issue but we will update if we hear more.


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