My website google search entry is messed up. In the preview in google search results, I get things like cracks, serials, random ip addresses. I scanned all files and my computer for viruses and malware and could not find anything. I also tried to download and reupload all content from a friend's computer and still that content persists. I also scanned the source code of all files, but the content does not appear in any file. Google also does not detect any malware on the website, as seen in their webmaster tools.

I have searched using the same keywords in other search engines such as bing and yahoo and the search results there are fine.

I am quite clueless as to what the causes would be for this and what would be a possible remedy.

  • Is it possible your webhost was hacked (which caused the dodgy code to appear on your website) and restored a backup (which removed it) without telling you?
    – MrG
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 8:32
  • If you suspect @MrG might be correct, I'd suggest specifically asking your host about it. While it might be nice they fixed things, I wouldn't be too pleased about them messing with my files without notice, regardless of their intentions being good.
    – Su'
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 10:44
  • @MrG and @Su': Thanks for your comments. I had contacted the host, but I was only told what I already knew - that it could be a malware attack on my site. Google's cache is dated Feb 3. I am not sure if this is also the day the preview is dated.
    – user5477
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 15:07

2 Answers 2


This is necessarily speculative, but here's a plausible sequence of events:

  1. Your server/CMS gets hacked, and the spam is only shown to bots(example).
  2. During this period, Google updates their preview, capturing the spam.
  3. After that, you(or your host) update the hacked CMS/files, undoing the exploit you were never aware of because you couldn't see the spam...
  4. ...but Google hasn't updated the preview yet, which is where you are now. There's no solid info on when previews are updated, and you can't force it, either.
  • Thanks for your answer. This is what I presume happened. I thought google previews might get updated each time their cache is updated, but perhaps not. I was also trying to file a formal request to purge cache via the webmaster tools, but I only get an option to remove the entire website from the search results and not only the cache after following the guidelines here google.com/support/webmasters/bin/…
    – user5477
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 15:11
  • @SDG You'd think the preview would be updated whenever they crawled, but that page I linked pretty much says, "Usually...but then again maybe not. Deal with it." Which is about as specific as Google ever gets about most stuff. You might try the nosnippet meta tag mentioned in the last question.
    – Su'
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 15:25
  • Thanks. Somehow I had missed that. I have added that meta tag to the index.html file. Somehow, I am not getting any weird stuff in google with any other webpage on that site, it's only a problem with the index page. Let's see if this fixes the issue.
    – user5477
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 18:55

I am not sure on the the causes although @MrG has a good point. With regard to the remedy assuming the issue does not return the next time Google crawls your site it should pick up the changes and update the preview image you could try re-submitting your XML sitemap if you have one to give Google a nudge.

  • Thanks for your answer. I actually submitted an XML sitemap this morning. Fingers crossed :)
    – user5477
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 15:12

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