Is your site using fake download buttons or attempts to install fake versions of popular software updates? If so, Google will now completely block searchers from accessing your site via their “red screen of death” that prevents access to the site and also details the issues Google found.
Here is how a site will now appear when someone tries to access it:
From their blog post:
Consistent with the social engineering policy we announced in November, embedded content (like ads) on a web page will be considered social engineering when they either:
- Pretend to act, or look and feel, like a trusted entity — like your own device or browser, or the website itself.
- Try to trick you into doing something you’d only do for a trusted entity — like sharing a password or calling tech support.
Fake download buttons are always a pain when someone is attempting to download a product yet can’t tell which button is the legitimate one and which one will bring about death and destruction to their computer. This is especially true when some are stylized to look identical to the link, to maximize the likelihood someone would click it.
Google also added a new manual action to Google Search Console a couple of months ago for social engineering content detected, which includes site using these types of buttons and tricks. So there are likely many sites that would have been hit with this block had they not already received a manual action for this issue and corrected it.
This is an extension of Google’s Safe Browsing, which changed in February to start blocking deceptive ads. So blocking these types of fake installers and download buttons is a great next step.
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